There were a host of reasons behind the two bench-clearing incidents in Thursday’s Cubs, Nats series finale. Three blowouts in a row and a lost season have Chicago on edge. Washington is in the midst of a pennant race and players insist they can’t take any game for granted – even if a game is getting out of hand.
But home plate umpire Jerry Layne placed the blame for the first mini-fight – really no punches were thrown – on one man: Chicago bench coach Jamie Quirk. It was his constant barking at the Nats and the incensed reaction by third base coach Bo Porter that started the first incident and led to the second, more serious one.
“Quirk was ejected for screaming out obscenities to the third base coach. That was the ejection for the coach,” Layne told a pool reporter afterwards. “The fracas was started because all that stuff that happened that was instigated by Quirk screaming out at Porter. And the obscenities that he screamed out I just felt was inappropriate and that’s what caused everything. The reason he was ejected was he was the cause.”
Porter spoke with reporters afterwards, but shed little insight into what Quirk was angry about. Presumably he was upset that Washington stole two bases up 7-2 in the fifth inning and had veteran Jayson Werth swing away on a 3-0 count with the bases loaded. Porter had enough with Quick and charged over to the Chicago dugout yelling. Layne said Porter would have been ejected had he actually entered it. Instead, he got off with a warning to remain in the third-base coaching box the rest of the game. At the time there was a delay so Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger, later ejected for his role in the second incident, could fix the webbing of his glove.
“It was getting real personal and [Porter was] sticking up for me because it’s really my decision on what we do on the field,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
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