In baseball, an ejection or “given the ol’ heave-ho” is the act of a player or manager being forced to leave the field due to their actions. Ejections are most commonly caused by arguing with umpires, fighting, or obscene language. Players or managers can also be ejected for throwing equipment on the field or for repeated violations of baseball’s rules. But what happens when baseball players get ejected?
When a player gets ejected, they are removed from the game, replaced by a substitute, and have the potential to be suspended. More severe consequences include getting fined, the coach being ejected, and an automatic loss due to a forfeit.
In this article, you will discover the various outcomes when baseball players get ejected, including the nuances and context. You’ll find out why ejections can put the other team at an advantage and what actions can trigger a player’s removal.
1) The Ejected Player Heads for the Clubhouse
The first and most obvious effect of getting ejected is that the player is removed from the field (and the game).
A vast majority of the time, players will head to the clubhouse. In the clubhouse, players take some time to cool down from their ejection, shower, change into street clothes, and watch the rest of the game on the tv in the clubhouse. Some players even enjoy a meal while watching the rest of the game.
In general, baseball players who are ejected from the game treat their ejection like it’s the end of the game. The only differences are that they need to cool down from their ejection and they will have the clubhouse to themselves.
The official MLB Rulebook states “when a manager, player, coach or trainer is ejected from a game, he shall leave the field immediately and take no further part in that game. He shall remain in the clubhouse or change to street clothes and either leave the park or take a seat in the grandstand well removed from the vicinity of his team’s bench or bullpen” (Rule 6.04(d))
Also, note that a player being ejected doesn’t affect the results of their performance up until the point of the ejection. Whatever stats occurred up to the ejection will still be counted for the game.
Let’s take a recent real-world example from pitching great Justin Verlander. He was sent packing with one out in the sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes. The ejection didn’t bring back the hitter who got out in that inning (or any other). Nor did it stop Verlander from getting the win. You can watch the video below to see Verlander getting ejected for arguing with the home plate umpire.
However, ejections are usually worth avoiding because they remove a well-performing player, which negatively impacts the team. The benches rarely have players that are as good as the starters. So, ejections end up creating a team-level disadvantage.
2) A Substitute Replaces the Ejected Player
In other sports, like soccer, a player getting thrown out of the game leaves the team one player short. The disadvantage in baseball isn’t as severe since a substitute is introduced to the game when one baseball player is ejected.
An ejection here and there won’t hurt your team if you have a deep bench. Still, some penalties are team-wide, and players are generally encouraged to do their best not to get ejected.
3) Players Can be Fined
Not all ejections end when players leave the field. Usually, getting removed is the only punishment for inappropriate behavior, but some professional players will also get fined.
Players can be ejected if they mumble something to themselves in anger, remove an article they are wearing, and throw it to the ground. But if a player starts shouting at the umpire or makes physical contact with the umpire, they are removed from the game and they can be fined if their actions were severe enough.
While it is not a common occurrence for players to get fined after being ejected, it does happen if their actions were over the top.
4) The Game is Forfeited if the Team is Short-Handed
When ejected, a baseball player needs to be replaced in the lineup. This can be a problem for teams that don’t have enough players.
In the MLB, teams must play 9 players. If they are unable to place 9 players into the lineup, they will forfeit the game.
On the other hand, most non-professional baseball leagues allow games to be played with 8 players. So if a player gets ejected and that team has fewer than 8 players, they will be forced to forfeit the game.
This is obviously upsetting for the team that needs to forfeit the game. And it’s even more upsetting if that team was winning before the ejection occurred.
5) The Game is Forfeited if the Player Refuses to Leave the Field
If a player refuses to leave after the umpire calls for his ejection, the match can be called in favor of the opposing team.
This scenario doesn’t happen often but is listed in the MLB rulebook. A game can be forfeited if a team “fails to obey within a reasonable time the umpire’s order for removal of a player from the game” (Rule 7.03(a))
Very rarely do forfeitures get challenged, even if the umpire seems biased. An ejection is so serious that even the umpire can’t overturn his call for a player’s ejection.
6) The Ejected Player Can be Suspended
Depending on the reason for the ejection, the player who gets ejected might face disciplinary action. Usually, the ejection is followed by being put on report (AKA, notified that they will face formal disciplinary action) if a player physically hits another player or the umpire. Players can also be suspended for yelling obscenities at umpires.
A player can also be suspended if they keep walking on the field after getting ejected. They need to leave the dugout in a timely fashion. Being suspended is a disciplinary escalation meant to prevent baseball players from acting out of line.
7) The Coach Can Get Ejected if They Get Involved
Coaches are very passionate about their teams and the sport. If a coach sees their player unfairly ejected from the game, they might protest.
Coaches love their players, so it is pretty easy to cross the line between protesting and yelling. When a coach disputes the ejection very vocally, they can also get ejected by the umpire.
8) Fans Can Also Get Ejected if They Get Involved
Where coaches are passionate but mostly reasonable, baseball fans can be quite unreasonable when it comes to defending their idles. When players are ejected, fans can conclude that the umpire is biased and can start disrespecting that umpire.
So while players getting ejected doesn’t cause fans to get ejected, a player getting ejected can lead to some pretty upset fans. If those fans get out of control, the umpire reserves the right to have them ejected from the premises. The ejection can also be enforced with a threat of forfeiture.
A great example would be what happened with the Dodgers during the 1995 season against the Cardinals. In this game, two Dodgers players were ejected – one in the eighth inning and one in the ninth inning. After the second player was ejected, fans were upset.
What made this worse was that this game was a promotional game and thousands of fans received a signed baseball when they entered the stadium. After the second Dodgers player was ejected, fans started throwing those signed baseballs onto the field. The umpires decided to forfeit the game because of the fans.
Just check out the 1995 SportsCenter recap of that game on YouTube.