Avisail Garcia got the heave-ho and it sent Rick Renteria into a rage on Thursday afternoon.
By the time the incident was over, Renteria got tossed, his White Sox hat had been hurled into the ground, and then retrieved, and the White Sox dugout was fired up.
White Sox players widely credit Renteria’s passion and support as a reason for their mid-game rally. The White Sox sent 10 men to the plate in the sixth inning after Garcia and Renteria were both ejected in the fifth. They scored four times en route to a 5-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“It was like, ‘Boom,’ (Renteria) got fired up,” catcher Kevan Smith said. “Nobody wants to see one of our best hitters come out of the lineup and obviously he was very frustrated. But that just shows you what he’s preaching to us in here, what he brings to the able. It was awesome to see him get a little heated.”
Prior to Thursday, Garcia had never been thrown out of a game in his career. The ejection was the eighth for Renteria, including two with the White Sox. Down 0-2 in the count to Chris Tillman, Garcia was on the borderline of checking his swing on a slider away.
He contends he didn’t go around.
“I didn’t swing, 100 percent,” Garcia said. “That’s why I get mad. But that happens. Everybody makes mistakes.”
Paul Emmel didn’t see it the same way down at first base. The crew chief said Garcia went around, which caused the batter to throw his arms up as he started to walk back to the dugout. Garcia then paused, turned around and pointed at his own eyes as if to let Emmel know he would be watching him. Emmel immediately ejected Garcia, which brought Renteria racing out of the dugout.
“I don't think (Garcia) did anything too egregious,” Renteria said. “I'm sure (Emmel) will disagree with me. But they have a tough job to do. Again, I say with all due respect to all of them, they have a very difficult job to do and they don't want people showing them up. I get all that. But I think I sit back and try to think about all the things the players are experiencing, the pressure that they're under to perform. I want people to stay in the ballgame.
“I guess, whatever physical reaction he gave him didn't sit well so he ejected him.
“I just think that players feel passionate about what they're doing and sometimes when things do go well they express themselves and it's something I think we have to have a little thicker skin with, that's all.”
Several players said they loved Renteria’s response.
Starting pitcher David Holmberg said the ejection gave the White Sox the extra energy needed to start the game-winning rally after a quick turnaround following a long, late game Wednesday. Garcia said he appreciated Renteria’s support.
“It’s always good when your manager has your back,” he said.
Smith said he just appreciates a good hat toss. Though the StatCast data wasn’t made available, the velocity with which Renteria’s hat was fired into the ground may have rivaled that of a Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge home run. After he finished giving Emmel a piece of his mind, Renteria retrieved the hat on his way back to the dugout.
“I’ve seen a lot of things throughout my minor league career,” Smith said. “But I always love when stuff gets thrown or covered up or bases get thrown out. It’s all fun. That’s one of the things I think replay has kind of taken from the game. You don’t get to see that as much and it kind of gets you going.”