There was an odd moment in the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. With the Orioles up by one run and a storm looming at Camden Yards, it looked like umpire Tim Timmons ejected the entire grounds crew from the field.
About 20 members of the Camden Yards grounds crew had gathered behind the giant rolled-up tarp, which was in foul territory by the first-base line. With a storm coming, they were prepared to get the field covered quickly in case the umpires suspended the game. Instead they saw Timmons, the acting crew chief, walk across the field from third base and start wildly gesticulating at them to get off the field.
umpire just ejected the grounds crew pic.twitter.com/Wn8hoL314j
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) September 16, 2021
Does the umpire have the power to eject the grounds crew, who are simply team employees and aren't actually playing in the game? It's not totally clear, but when an umpire tells you he wants you off the field, it's hard to interpret that as anything but an ejection.
Not technically an ejection
Regardless of whether the umpire could actually eject them from a game they're merely working at, the grounds crew dutifully ran off the field and into the bowels of the stadium. After the game, Timmons spoke with the Associated Press via text to clarify what had actually gone down.
"I didn't 'eject' the grounds crew," Timmons said in a text to The Associated Press. "I just didn't want all of them behind the tarp, especially with the infield in."
Since he was just telling them to get off the field in case of a fielding play, it wasn't actually an ejection because they were allowed to come back if the field needed to be covered. It just looked like an ejection. A bizarre, comical ejection.
Pretty quickly after the grounds crew was sent off, the Orioles gave up their one-run lead thanks to a two-run single hit by Brett Gardner. The game ended with the Yankees winning 4-3, the grounds crew still ensconced inside the stadium, and the tarp still rolled up in foul territory.