White Sox Manager Tony LaRussa objected, but I told him I wasn't going to be responsible for players getting hurt on a muddy field. Weaver agreed with me, so our first encounter in a year went smoothly.
The sun was shining on Saturday, but the field was still in terrible shape. I didn't think we should play the game, but I wasn't sure. Players on both teams signed a petition claiming the field wasn't playable, so I called that game off, too. This was the only case I've known of a game being called because of rain on a gorgeous August afternoon.
We played a doubleheader on Sunday. The field wasn't good, but life rafts were no longer necessary, either. I had the plate, and Weaver started on me in the very first inning. "Looked like a strike from here." "Bend over and look at it." It took him three pitches to make me feel right at home. In the third inning I called a strike on Doug DeCinces and Weaver really let me have it. "Wherewasitlookedhighfromherebenddownbeardown...." Maybe he was right, maybe it wasn't a strike. I had only called about 150,000 pitches from behind the plate and he had called many more than that from the dugout, but it looked like a good pitch to me. I probably wouldn't have thrown out any other manager in baseball for complaining, but this wasn't any other manager. This was Weaver. I turned and looked directly at him. I carefully loaded my finger. I pointed it right at him and shot him out of the game. Then I calmly blew the smoke away.
He sprinted out of the dugout to confront me. "Are you throwing me out of the game?"
I'd been waiting a long time for this moment. I smiled broadly. "Earl," I said, "I haven't seen you in a year. Of course I'm throwing you out of the game."
He proceeded to criticize my work and concluded by protesting the game.
"Earl? What? What are you going to protest? You lasted until the third inning. You should be flattered."
It was then that Weaver invented the strangest protest I'd ever heard. "I'm protesting the game on account of the umpire's integrity."
"Umpire's integrity. And I want it announced over the loudspeaker."