Nick Castellanos was hit by a pitch in the 4th inning by Jake Woodford. Later in the inning Woodford threw a wild pitch and Castellanos, then on third, raced home to beat the throw from Yadier Molina and the tag from Woodford.
On the play, Woodford wound up sitting on Castellanos for a brief second at the two met at the plate on the play. The Reds outfielder got up, while Woodford was still on the ground and screamed over him “Let’s (bleeping) go!” and then began to walk towards his dugout. That’s when Molina came rushing in and shoved/pushed Castellanos from behind and from there the benches cleared. In the end, no punches were thrown, and the aggressive move from Molina was likely the biggest physical confrontation of the entire event.
The result, however, was that Nick Castellanos was ejected from the game. No other players were ejected. After the game Jim Reynolds, the crew chief of the umpires on the field for the game that day said that Castellanos was ejected “because we felt that he was, after sliding into home, he re-engaged the pitcher in unnecessary fashion and that’s why he was ejected.”
That certainly makes sense if we are following the 2021 health and safety protocols – specifically the unsportsmanlike conduct part that states:
Prohibitions against unsportsmanlike conduct will be strictly enforced to prevent unnecessary physical contact and support physical distancing between individuals on the playing field. In this respect, players and managers should maintain physical distancing from all umpires and opposing players on the playing field whenever possible. Players or managers who leave their positions to argue with umpires, come within six feet of an umpire or opposing player or manager for the purpose of argument, or engage in altercations on the field are subject to immediate ejection and discipline, including fines and suspensions.
Reynolds was also asked why Molina wasn’t ejected. His response, via C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic: “Because sometimes contact happens between players and umpires that is not aggressive. That is why he was not ejected.”
I’m not an umpire. I haven’t been one in over two decades and I never made it out of knothole umpiring. But I’m also not blind and I can read. Players that leave their positions to engage in altercations on the field are subject to immediate ejection. That’s what the rule says. Yadier Molina ran after Nick Castellanos and put his hands on him as Castellanos was walking to his dugout. And yet it was Castellanos who was ejected from the game for shouting “Let’s (bleeping) go!” to another player, while the player who initiated physical contact with him was not.
Should Nick Castellanos have been ejected? Debatable, but one can understand how the rules could be read in a manner in which it makes sense to eject Castellanos there. However there is no possible way that one can debate that Yadier Molina should have been ejected for placing his hands on Castellanos. It violated the rules, and anyone who watched the situation unfold could see that Molina was indeed aggressive in his contact with Castellanos.
The rule cited above notes that the players could be subject to ejection and discipline, including fines and suspensions. We’ll see how that latter part goes for Yadier Molina in the next few days.