What every true-blue Earl Weaver watcher has been waiting for since his return to baseball finally happened tonight.
The Orioles' manager was ejected by home plate umpire Dale Ford, which was by far the highlight of Baltimore's 5-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins in the Metrodome.
But Weaver didn't just get ejected. He delayed the game nine minutes by arguing with two umpires, ran out to get an opinion from a Twins outfielder, and did everything but throw kisses to the Minnesota fans, who responded to Weaver's first ejection of the year by giving him a standing ovation.
And afterward, Weaver said the controversial call made by third base umpire Rocky Roe was "just a lack of common sense."
The Orioles, meanwhile, lost the game because Storm Davis (4-6) gave up five runs in the second inning, including a grand slam to Kent Hrbek. Davis allowed only two hits the last 6 2/3 innings, but Baltimore couldn't quite catch up against Mike Smithson (9-7), Frank Eufemia and Ron Davis, who earned his 13th save.
Weaver had plenty of time to cool off after the long controversy. It began in the top of the fourth when Fred Lynn hit a foul pop into the Twins' left field bullpen.
Randy Bush, the Minnesota left fielder, pursued the ball and at least got his glove on it before crashing into the bullpen bench where his teammates were sitting. Mark Brown helped break his crash.
Weaver, Lynn and first-base coach Jimmy Williams said Bush didn't catch the ball. Twins Manager Ray Miller, Baltimore's pitching coach a month ago, said he couldn't see the play but he knew Bush caught the ball.
Bush, if he didn't catch it, wasn't telling. "I knew I caught it," he said, adding that a ball Brown was holding was the one some people saw pop out, not the ball in play.
After Lynn was called out by third base umpire Rocky Roe, Lynn charged over followed by Weaver.
"(Bush) didn't catch it at all," Weaver said. "It popped out of his glove. I knew the second base ump (Mark Johnson) knew he didn't catch it. But Roe wouldn't go over and ask him. The object of the whole thing is for the umps to get it right. And (Roe) didn't get it right, as usual.
"All he had to do was go over and ask the second base ump. I went over and asked, but he said he couldn't tell me unless Roe came over and asked. If (Roe) knew he was right, there's no reason for him not to ask. He must have had doubt in his own mind. That's simple logic. It was just lack of common sense."
After arguing for about seven minutes, in which time Weaver twice turned his back and began to walk away, Ford issued the 90th ejection of Weaver's career, the first since he returned on June 14.
Weaver then walked out to Bush, standing in left field. "I said, 'Why don't you tell the umpire you didn't catch the ball?' or something to that effect," Weaver said.
Bush, asked about the discussion, said sarcastically, "He just came out and said, 'That was a fine, fine catch.' He just wanted to congratulate me."
Weaver did admit the whole affair was pretty strange. "That's the first time I've done that," Weaver said of his trip to the outfield. "(Bush) had that guilty look. He looked like he was starting to get mad, though. I don't blame him . . . some idiot walks out to left field . . . He's probably thinking, 'This guy is gonna shoot me.' "
As Weaver strolled back to the dugout the crowd of 19,893 began applauding louder and louder. As Weaver neared the first base line, he raised both hands above his head, and nearly the entire park stood to applaud.
And just before ducking into the dugout, he even doffed his cap, which drew more approval.
But it was Miller played the game under protest because Smithson (9-7) was not allowed to take warmup pitches after the delay.
"I think there has to be a limit to how long a guy can argue," Miller said. "You can't carry him off the field. I thought that was part of what Earl wanted, with his team not going well, was to disrupt the game, disrupt the pitcher."
Maybe Weaver just couldn't take anymore after his Orioles' 2-0 lead was wiped out by Hrbek's grand slam. Hrbek's third homer and second grand slam in seven at bats put the Twins ahead, 5-2.
The evening started with promise for Baltimore when Eddie Murray hit a two-run homer, one-handed, to right field.
The Orioles scored in the sixth on Mike Young's single, which extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and in the seventh when pinch hitter Jim Dwyer singled to score John Shelby.