The Winston-Salem Dash closed out their home schedule with a loss to Carolina on Monday night, and Tommy Thompson rewarded the fans who stuck around through the ninth inning with an ejection for the ages. We all gawked at Robin Ventura's dirt-kicking tantrum, but Thompson made Ventura look downright diplomatic by comparison.
Setting the scene
The Dash and Mudcats were tied at 5 in the ninth inning with one outs and a runner on second. Dash reliever Raul Fernandez threw a two-strike slider in the dirt, and Medina appeared to go around too far on his checked swing.
One problem: The Carolina League uses two-man umpiring crews, and with a runner on second, field umpire Adam Beck is positioned behind the mound, and a little bit toward the third-base side. Home plate umpire Eric Bacchus had a better view of the swing, but when he deferred to his colleague, Beck was left to guess.
When the call went against the Dash, Thompson let Bacchus hear it from the dugout. And when Bacchus ejected Thompson soon after, Thompson let Bacchus get a closer look at his berserker rage.
It looked like Bacchus allowed Thompson to vent while the pitcher, batter and catcher reset. But once they took their positions, Bacchus told Thompson to cut it out. When Thompson opted to continue, Bacchus gave him the thumb.
And heeeeeeeere come the pretzels.
Thompson takes a rather unremarkable arguing posture at first, but he escalates it over the next minute.
The helmet removal
The brim of Thompson's helmet had created a two-inch barrier between his face and Bacchus', so Thompson took it off to give the discussion extra intimacy.
The helmet slam
And then he threw it on the groooouuuuuuuund.
From Bacchus' recoil, it looked like it hit him off the bounce. That's gotta be a fine.
The removal of shoes
You could say that Thompson lost it when he slammed his helmet. You could say Thompson blew a fuse when he took off his shoes and cap and placed them neatly on home plate.
This adds an element of derangement to the proceedings.
The ejection of umpires
Fearing that Thompson might remove more clothes, the other umpire intervenes. Thompson responds by throwing both of them out of the game.
I'm guessing Thompson let loose with a Ric Flair "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
The helmet toss
Thompson left his shoes and cap on the field, but he decides to send his helmet into the crowd for a parting gift.
Then realizing he helped matters by cleaning up after himself, he decided to discard a few more items on the field before making his exit.
Perhaps the inning should've been over, but the extended at-bat paid off when Adam Engel robbed Medina of a potential game-winning hit with an incredible diving catch, and flipped the ball to second for the inning-ending double play.
So all's well that ends well -- except for maybe the helmet slam. Anything that close to the umpire is poor form, but the rest could be incorporated into Ventura's repertoire if he were looking at potential new moves for his next big explosion.