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Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Ump chest-bumps Hurdle; skipper, King ejected

Associated Press

DENVER -- Home plate umpire Tony Randazzo chest-bumped Colorado manager Clint Hurdle after walking up the first-base line, where he confronted Rockies reliever Ray King in the ninth inning Wednesday.

Ray King
King

Both King and Hurdle were ejected by Randazzo, who met King about 40 feet from home plate after the left-hander was pulled in favor of Jose Mesa with one out.

King, who was angered that he wasn't getting the high strike, took offense to Randazzo's walking up the line and said something that got him tossed.

King said Randazzo also made contact with him, although that couldn't be verified through replay because the game wasn't televised or taped.

Randazzo clearly bumped Colorado's manager, however, when Hurdle hollered at him over King's ejection. Hurdle pointed to the crowd as if to say he had thousands of witnesses and then angrily motioned at Randazzo with both hands in a bring-it-on gesture.

There was no further contact, however, and Hurdle and King both went to the clubhouse as Mesa got the final two outs in Colorado's 16-9 win over Pittsburgh that featured 11 pitchers, 16 walks and 364 pitches, 155 of which were balls.

Randazzo didn't comment before leaving Coors Field following the game that lasted almost 3½ hours in nearly 100-degree heat.

"I'm not taking questions. We have a plane to catch," crew chief Joe West said.

Hurdle declined to discuss his run-in with Randazzo.

"Oh, it's just hot out," Hurdle said. "It's hot. Long day."

Pressed, Hurdle replied: "What happens on the field stays on the field."

Not according to King, who criticized Randazzo for a "mystery strike zone" all afternoon and for walking up the first-base line, which he perceived as confrontational, while the left-hander was walking back to his dugout in the ninth.

"This guy, Tony Randazzo, behind the plate today was totally out of line," King said. "Like I told Joe West, this guy's walking up the line. He shouldn't have walked up the line. He gets right up in your face hoping I'd agitate him."

King said he should have been given the courtesy of an answer, and not attitude, when he asked Randazzo why a couple pitches weren't called strikes.

"We just got a memo the other day saying umpires are going to call that pitch right there. I felt like that was a strike and I'm asking where it is," King said.

King produced a memo in the clubhouse that he said all teams got in spring training informing pitchers that while the strike zone wouldn't be called wide this season, the pitch at the bottom of the letters would be called a strike.

"Don't get mad at me when I ask you about it," King said. "If they say they're going to call that pitch, call it."

Asked what Randazzo said to him, King replied: "Some adult words."

King said he didn't recall what was said between the home plate umpire and his manager because "I was kind of heated at that moment, so I didn't really see what was going on."

"Joe West made a comment like, 'Clint, it's your job to keep your players in line,' [and] I told Joe West, 'You're the crew chief. Your job is to keep your crew in line,'" King recounted.