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Yankees manager ejected from game after case of mistaken identity, spat with umpire

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone, right, argues with umpire Hunter Wendelstedt during the first inning of the baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Boone was ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(CNN) — Aaron Boone has been tossed from an MLB game 35 times since becoming New York Yankees manager in 2018, but his most recent ejection on Monday was certainly unique.

Only five pitches into the Yankees’ 2-0 loss against the Oakland Athletics, home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt unambiguously told Boone that he was on his final warning after the pair disagreed over a hit-by-pitch call and that he’d be ejected if he said another word.

Moments later, Boone was tossed when Wendelstedt heard a shout directed towards him – despite the offending words appearing to come from a fan in the stands and not the Yankees manager himself.

“It’s embarrassing, just not good,” Boone said after the game, per MLB. “I really didn’t even go after Hunter. I was more upset at the appeal. I said, ‘Hunter, you can call it, too.’ He came back at me pretty hard to which I didn’t respond. I just said, ‘OK.’”

CNN has reached out to the Yankees and MLB for comment.

What even happened?

Oakland’s Esteury Ruiz, the game’s first batter, was struck on the foot by a slider thrown by Carlos Rodón. Wendelstedt deferred to first-base umpire John Tumpane, who ruled that Ruiz did not swing and awarded him a hit-by-pitch, allowing him to advance to first base.

Boone took issue with the call and raised it with Wendelstedt, whose blunt reply was picked up by broadcast hot mics.

“Guess what? You’re not yelling at me. I did what I’m supposed to do and checked (with Tumpane),” Wendelstedt was heard saying. “I’m looking for him to get hit by the pitch. You got anything else to say, you’re gone, OK?”

The cameras then cut to a frustrated – but crucially silent – Boone who appeared to stand down. Footage from YES Network then shows a fan sitting behind Boone yell something at the umpire, who then immediately turns around and throws the manager out of the game.

Boone – who appeared to be chewing gum and looking at his hand during the incident that saw him ejected – protested his innocence, immediately pointing at the stands and indicating that the comment had been made by a fan.

Boone then launched into an expletive-laden rant as he pleaded his case to Wendelstedt.

“I did not say a word! It was above the dugout!” he said. “I didn’t say anything! I did not say anything, Hunter!”

Wendelstedt was not prepared to debate the matter.

“I don’t care who said it. You’re gone!” he told Boone as jeers rained in from the New York crowd.

Boone told reporters that it was “hard” to wrap his head around the decision and said that he would be reaching out to MLB about the situation.

Per MLB, Wendelstedt conceded postgame that Boone “probably, you know, is not the one who made the comment,” but doubled down on his reasons for the ejection.

“I know what Aaron was saying, that it was a fan above the dugout,” he said. “That’s fine and dandy. There were plenty of fans that were yelling at me before I called a pitch until the end of the game … but Aaron Boone is the manager of the New York Yankees and is responsible for everything that happens in that dugout.

“In my opinion, the cheap shot came towards the far end. So, instead of me being aggressive and walking down to the far end and trying to figure out who might have said it, I don’t want to eject a ballplayer. We need to keep them in the game. That’s what the fans pay to see. Aaron Boone runs the Yankees. He got ejected.”

This was Boone’s second ejection of the season after being thrown out of a game against the Miami Marlins earlier this month.