Padres' Gonzalez Speaks Out Against Ump's Calls, Arizona Law
SAN DIEGO, Calif -- Known mostly for his booming bat and deft glove, Padres star Adrian Gonzalez drew attention on Saturday with his mouth.
Gonzalez, fed up with disputed strike calls against teammates and himself, was thrown out of a major league game for the first time after words with umpire Rob Drake in San Diego's 2-1 loss to the Brewers.
Afterward at Petco Park, Gonzalez had more to say about not only Drake's calls but a controversial ruling in Arizona aimed at stemming illegal immigration.
He told FanHouse that he will not attend next year's All-Star Game in Phoenix if the law is in effect, and that he'd like for major league baseball to boycott spring training in Arizona. Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill into law on April 23.
"I'll support the Players Association 100 percent," said Gonzalez, who grew up in both Tijuana and a suburb south of San Diego. "If they leave it up to the players and the law is still there, I'll probably not play in the All-Star Game. Because it's a discriminating law.
"I know it can't be done, but they should take spring training out of (Arizona) if it's possible."
Gonzalez spoke to Drake after taking a called third strike with the Padres trailing 2-1 and none out in the eighth inning.
"I just told him it was a bad pitch, told him he was missing them all game," he said.
Drake let Gonzalez have his say. After more words from Gonzalez, he tossed him and later manager Bud Black.
Gonzalez said he'd never been ejected in either the minors or majors. He was ejected in winter ball.
He said Drake missed calls in the same area to other hitters -- low and inside to lefties and outside to right-handers.
"The strike zone is defined in the rules, and he has his own interpretation there," Gonzalez said. "I hope ESPN and MLB play that pitch so they can see.
"I struck out three times. I can get sent down. What's going to happen -- he misses a lot of pitches -- is he going to get sent down?"
Gonzalez had looked at video of disputed strike-three calls against his teammates, notably one against Tony Gwynn. Directing his ire at Drake, he was defending his younger teammates.
"It was definitely the right time for me to speak up, not for just myself but for the team," he said, adding, "I respect (Drake) an incredible amount. I don't ever disrespect (umpires). They know that. Sometimes you've just got to stand up.
"I'm neutral. I'm not trying to get calls our way. I'm just trying to get the right call being made."
Gonzalez will be fined for his ejection. Bob Watson, MLB's czar of discipline, will review Gonzalez's postgame comments directed at Drake.
Closing out Milwaukee's victory after Padres fans cheered him, Trevor Hoffman had a 1-2-3 ninth. The all-time save leader had blown four of seven save attempts in April.
Hoffman, 42, pitched for the Padres from June 1993 through 2007 and still lives in north San Diego. Since joining the Brewers, he has recorded two saves and four scoreless innings against San Diego. He needs five saves to reach 600.
The Padres had won their previous eight home games. The Brewers ended a four-game losing streak.