After unleashing a Twitter rant criticizing umpire Andy Fletcher's work behind the plate in Thursday's game, Rays OF Carlos Gomez doubled down in his comments Friday, saying he was even more upset about how Fletcher treated him when questioning a third strike call and then ejecting him.
"He's the one who should have been thrown out last night because he's the only one who didn't do his job,'' Gomez said.
Gomez said he told Fletcher the pitch, ending a key sixth-inning pinch-hit appearance with the bases loaded, was inside, and that video would prove it.
Gomez indicated Fletcher squared up to him, said "but right now it's a strike," and was dismissive, that "basically then he told me to go on in'' to the dugout.
"That's what made me pissed off, made me frustrated, the way he acted to me,'' Gomez said.
Revisiting that point a few minutes later, Gomez said it was the way Fletcher "got in my face" in defending the call that was the trigger point.
"What does that mean? I'm a man. You do that to me in the street I'm going to slap the (crap) out of you,'' he said.
Fletcher declined before Friday's game, via a Blue Jays representative, to address Gomez's comments. Major League Baseball officials typically review all criticisms of umpires, and could decide if Gomez's tweets and comments warrant a fine and/or suspension.
Gomez heavily criticized Fletcher's ball-and-strike calling, saying he "missed more than 30 pitches, guaranteed" and that his work exemplifies the need to implement an electronic strike-zone system.
"They know that I never complain about strike or balls,'' Gomez said. "But the way they be calling (stuff) now they need to put in the electronic strike zone. They have to, because they've been inconsistent the whole year long. I'm not the only one.''
Gomez said he was particularly upset because he had a chance in that at-bat to extend what was then a 3-2 Rays lead, and given that ended up losing by one (after blowing a six-run ninth inning lead) the disputed call may have cost the Rays a win and him money in future earnings.
"I'm not going to let you do that,'' said Gomez, whose $4 million salary this year pushed his career earnings to around $50-million. "I'm rich, but I'm not stupid.''
Manager Kevin Cash said he hadn't looked at the replay of the pitch in question, but Gomez's public criticism was "probably not the best way to go about it.''
Gomez, 32, earlier this year criticized MLB's drug testing program for not being random, and had a violent dugout outburst smashing a cooler. But he also has been complimented by Cash and players for providing strong leadership and helping create the casual and positive atmosphere in the clubhouse.