Cubs’ Kris Bryant On First Big League Ejection: ‘Had To Stick Up For Myself’

By Chris Emma–

CHICAGO (CBS) — Given the polite demeanor of Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, he stands as an unlikely candidate to be ejected from a game.

For Bryant to argue with an umpire in a heated manner, it would take what he views as an egregious error in judgement. That came in the fourth inning of the Cubs’ 7-2 win against the White Sox at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, when Bryant was ejected after arguing a called third strike that was tracked on replays at 4.4 inches inside. The pitch from left-hander Carlos Rodon and the ensuing call caused Bryant to let loose with frustration before home plate umpire Lance Barksdale gave him the boot.

Bryant struck out in all three of his at-bats Tuesday. Afterward, he confirmed it was only the second time in his life that he was ejected, with the other incident occurring in Triple-A in a similar situation.

“It’s frustrating,” Bryant said after the game he watched from the clubhouse. “I know he’s trying to do the best job he can. I’m doing the best job I can. The heat of the moment, I feel like I only want to say something when I know for a fact. Sometimes, there’s borderline pitches that are really hard to call.

“That one, I knew for a fact. I had to stick up for myself. I don’t want to be that guy that gets thrown out of games. I try to be professional on the field, but I have to stick up for myself sometimes.”

Manager Joe Maddon soon followed out of the dugout after Bryant was ejected, asking Barksdale for clarification for what happened. He learned that Bryant didn’t curse in response to the call.

Surprised by both Bryant’s and Barksdale’s reactions to the situation, Maddon returned to the dugout.

“I asked him what he said, and I didn’t think it was worthy of ejection,” Maddon said. “I didn’t think he would say anything worthy of ejection. That’s almost like (Ben) Zobrist arguing with an umpire. So I was taking my time, because I didn’t think there was anything to it, but I learned my lesson.

“I said, ‘What did he say?’ And he told me. I’m thinking, ‘My gosh; that’s not harsh enough.’ I mean, I’ve clearly said a lot harsher than that. I did not want to get kicked out at that moment. I was not really worth it at that moment. It was so awkwardly benign, what he said, and that he would get kicked out for it, so I did not want to get all worked up.

“I needed somebody to come after me right there. I needed him to tell me something really awful, and then I might have. But it was like, ‘You got to be kidding me?'”

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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