Before Mainieri could argue with Maners, tempers flared and benches momentarily cleared. Order was restored and Mainieri proceeded with his protest.
Mainieri gave his version of events:
“My first argument was, (Romero) should have been safe. How is that any different than what happened yesterday?” he said.
Mainieri was referring to a play in Friday’s 7-6 LSU loss, during which Rebels right fielder Ryan Olenek did not slide into home plate, knocking the ball from Romero’s hand while he tried to apply a tag.
Olenek was ruled safe for Ole Miss’ first run.
“Yesterday, their player didn’t slide, their player knocked the ball out of our catcher’s glove. If you look at the video of yesterday, our catcher is clearly way out toward the pitcher’s mound in front of the plate, he clearly gave him a pathway for the runner to slide,” Mainieri said.
“He didn’t slide and dislodged the ball from our catcher. The first thing I wanted to discuss was why is he out? He’s got nowhere to go and he’s trying to go around him and the ball came in, he should be safe.”
After making sure his players were all back in the dugout, Mainieri and Maners continued their discussion.
“I go back over to Tony Maners and I try to talk to him about it, and he says, ‘(Romero’s) gone.’ And I say ‘Gone, gone for what?’ He says, ‘It was malicious.’ And I say, ‘Come on Tony; he was trying to slide, trying to go around him.’
“First he told me (Romero’s) done for today but not for tomorrow. Then all the umpires got together and then (Maners) tells me (Romero’s) done for tomorrow, too.”
Mainieri said he did not know for which specific offense Romero was ejected and could not definitively say why he was suspended for Saturday’s game.
Nevertheless, LSU will play without Romero on Saturday for a rule that Mainieri said needs more clarity.
“Every umpire interprets the play at the plate differently,” Mainieri said. “Your runners don’t know what to do, your catchers don’t know what to do. The last two or three years, it’s just been so frustrating. Everybody interprets it differently. ...
“Tony Maners is one of the best umpires in the world, he’s been doing it forever and I have the greatest respect in the world for him, but I just didn’t see where it was malicious. The guy was clearly in the baseline, but Jordan had nowhere to go, so he went to the inside and his knee got caught and he flipped forward. That’s the way I saw it. Maybe I’m wrong.”