Laz Diaz must have missed the lesson in umpiring school about not making yourself a part of the game.
The veteran ump has a reputation for loving the spotlight — the Joey Crawford of Major League Baseball, if you will. Diaz decided to put himself at the center of the action again Monday night in Anaheim, when he ejected New York Yankees reliever Shawn Kelley after the right-hander had already been lifted from the game.
Kelley walked four Los Angeles Angels batters and surrendered three runs while recording just two outs in the eighth inning, and he had some words for Diaz about the strike zone as he walked off the mound.
Here’s what transpired during Kelley’s stroll to the dugout:
Seems a little unnecessary, no? Yankees manager Joe Girardi, whom Diaz also ejected an inning earlier, sure thought so.
“No one is coming (to the game) to see Laz, I can tell you that,” Girardi said after the game, via MLB.com.
That eighth inning proved disastrous for New York, as Kelley, Matt Thornton and Preston Claiborne combined to issue six walks — the team’s highest single-inning total since 1990. The free passes led to three Angels runs in the frame, giving the home team a 4-1 victory.