Umpires Threatened To Eject Pitcher Zach Eflin For The Silliest Of Reasons

A group of umpires discuss a call.


Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Zach Eflin found himself in hot water with the umpiring crew on Thursday. In fact, the starter was threatened with an ejection.

His potential removal had little to do with a disagreement on a call or a foreign substance on his hand. Rather, the umps wanted him to take off a piece of jewelry on his non-pitching hand.

The jewelry in question was Eflin’s wedding ring. A rubber ring, at that.

After being asked to remove the ring, it was placed on his necklace where it would stay the remainder of the day.

He’d talk about the odd request after the game.

“This is the first crew that’s really given me trouble about taking the ring off,” Eflin said. “I’ve told every umpire that’s asked me to take it off, ‘I respect what you guys do, but I’m going to keep it on. It’s very important to me.’ Most umpires are cool with it.”

The pitcher continued to say this particular crew seemed “on edge” and that they threatened to kick him out of action.

“This crew was a little different… I said, ‘If you’re going to eject me out of the game, then I’ll take it off.’ That’s what they ended up coming out and telling me on the mound. They were going to toss me out of the game if I didn’t take off my rubber ring. So, I took it off.”

It is interesting considering the ring is on his glove hand. Moreover, it’s rubber which eliminates any possibility of a shine or glare reflecting from the sun.

The pitcher didn’t let it bother him too much, though, as he was dominant in his Thursday performance.

Eflin landed the win over the Pirates, pitching seven scoreless innings and striking out 10 Pittsburgh batters. With the victory, the starter improved to 4-0 on the season while the Rays completed a sweep of what had been the National League’s top team.