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Umpire Phil Kuzzi defends call, subsequent ejection of Ben Zobrist

Umpire Phil Kuzzi on Wednesday defended his ejection of Ben Zobrist during the Chicago Cubs’ 7-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. Of the eighth-inning ejection of Zobrist during Tuesday’s game, Kuzzi said of the Cub “just decided he wanted to get himself run, and that’s what happened.”

Zobrist’s ejection, the first of his 13-year career, spanning 1,563 games, was spawned by comments over ball-and-strike calls made by Kuzzi, who was working home plate.

“I just basically said: ‘That’s why we want an electronic strike zone,’ ” Zobrist said after the game, via the Chicago Tribune. “And that’s what obviously got me tossed.”

Kuzzi on Wednesday sidestepped a question about whether or not it was the electronic strike zone chatter that got Zobrist tossed.

“The conversation started cordial, and then he just started to say things that I thought it was best that the conversation ended,” Cuzzi said. “Whichever came (first) I don’t really remember.”

Cuzzi did admit that Zobrist is not the kind of guy who usually walks the line when it comes to conduct befitting an ejection.

In the end, Cuzzi simply believes Zobrist simply wanted to get ejected. The ump’s characterization of events was spawned by a question about whether he found the electronic strike zone chatter offensive or amusing.

“No … sometimes you just have to, uh, I was surprised, I guess, to hear him say it,” Cuzzi said. “But it was just a culmination of things.

“I don’t mind talking to a player about a play or pitches as long as they’re respectful about it. And it started that way, and I just felt some of the things he said, it wasn’t worth continuing the conversation.

“I think he just wanted to get thrown.”