Umpire Andy Fletcher stomps out to mound to confront Jon Lester (video)
An unquestionably outrageous and arguably unacceptable scene played out during Thursday’s tilt between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers when home plate umpire Andy Fletcher took issue with Jon Lester and tried to stomp out to the mound to confront the pitcher.
Fletcher’s attempted confrontation with the Cubs pitcher was somewhat foiled by catcher David Ross, who ran interference while the umpire jawed at Lester until manager Joe Maddon came to his assistance. More yelling followed and confusion reigned.
After the game, a 4-0 loss for the Cubbies, Lester was at a loss as to what provoked Fletcher’s near-meltdown.
“I didn’t say anything directed at him,” Lester said, per the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t know why (Fletcher) was so upset. I had my head down when I was yelling. He went AWOL. I don’t know what was going on. It has nothing to do with umpire’s strike zone.”
The Tribune report notes that Lester and Fletcher have something of a history, with the two engaging in a previous argument earlier this season.
But the fact remains that if a player conducted himself in such a manner — angrily stomping towards an umpire while yelling goodness knows what — it’s likely punitive consequences would be in the offing. Will it be the same case when the roles are reversed? Anything’s possible, but don’t count on it.
A somewhat similar incident occurred during a May 2014 game when umpire Paul Nauert made contact with the face of then-Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter during an argument. Nauert wasn’t disciplined by Major League Baseball for his actions, but it’s a near-certainty had the situation gone the other way, Hunter would have been suspended.