RENO, Nev. – A public address announcer who was ejected for inciting criticism of an umpire at a minor league baseball game served his league-sanctioned sentence Friday night by spending an inning in the ump's shoes.
Mike Murray, the announcer for the independent Golden Baseball League's Reno Silver Sox, was ejected Thursday night between the seventh and eighth innings of Reno's 6-5 loss to the Chico Outlaws at Peccole Park.
Home plate umpire Tyler Ramsey tossed him and ordered the P.A. system shut down after Murray played a sound bite of a Bob Uecker line from the 1989 movie "Major League" — "Personally, I think we got hosed on that call" — following a close call against the home team at first base.
After reviewing the ejection report, GBL Commissioner Kevin Outcalt determined the appropriate disciplinary action would be for Murray to work the first inning of Friday night's game between the two teams as the third base umpire.
"We don't think this form of discipline has been used before but we think the punishment fits the crime so we're going to give it a try," Outcalt told The Associated Press.
"The employee is a good employee but he needs to get some more perspective from the umpire's point of view so he understands how some of these things are reacted to," he said. "He has to apologize to the umpire crew and join the crew for the first inning in full regalia."
Murray admitted before Friday night's game he was "a little nervous about it."
"I never even called a T-ball game before," he told AP.
The local radio personality whose on-air name is Mike Anthony said he didn't mean any disrespect to the umpires.
"I didn't think I crossed any boundaries, but apparently I did. Honestly, I was just kind of floored by the whole thing. I had no idea I could be ejected, but I guess it is well within his right to toss me," he said.
Murray made his apology in a public address to a crowd of several hundred just before the national anthem.
"Let's give it up for our umpires tonight who do a great job night in and night out," he said. He was blessed with an uneventful inning, as the only baserunner was picked off first base.
Outcalt said it's standard procedure to consider whether some sort of sanction is warranted following any ejection.
"But typically it's for a player or manager. You don't get many ejecting the PA announcer — in fact, it's our first one," he said.
"It's certainly within the umpire's rights if he feels the announcer is making inappropriate comments about players or officials or inciting the fans," he said.
And Ramsey "did it in style, turning to the press box, pointing at the announcer and throwing him out of the stadium," Outcalt said.
The commissioner said they've put some safeguards in place in the event Murray blows a call.
"The other umpires will have the ability to override his decision to protect the integrity of the game."
Murray had been warned about his conduct last season after San Diego Surf Dawgs manager Terry Kennedy "took offense at sound bites directed at his players and ended up storming the press box," Outcalt said.
"That's the last time any players have been the focus of any of the humorous sound bites that Mike has a bag full of," he said.
Outcalt said the announcers are employees of the local teams and are charged with "bringing some fun and liveliness to the games."
"Mike does a very good job of that. This is an instance where he just went further than he should. He realizes it and so it is something we are going to correct."