Ausmus remembers retiring umpires

Manager had history with some who have recently called it a career

Ausmus remembers retiring umpires

LAKELAND, Fla. -- In the wake of Jim Joyce joining fellow longtime Major League umpires Bob Davidson, John Hirschbeck and Tim Welke in retiring since last season ended, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus reflected on a run-in with Joyce early in his managerial career.

It resulted in one of Ausmus' first ejections as a manager.

"That was in Anaheim, an instant replay argument," Ausmus said. "Austin Jackson was in the box and ready to hit. Anaheim had picked over. The pitcher was back on the rubber and Austin Jackson was back in the box. You're no longer allowed to review a play, and [Angels manager Mike] Scioscia wanted to review it. It was allowed to be reviewed, and I was not happy about it."

But Ausmus said Joyce has been one of the nicest guys in baseball. He also recalled positive moments off the field with Hirschbeck's family.

"They're from Connecticut, him and his brother, Mark," Ausmus said. "I think they're from New Haven, Conn.. … I had a camp early on in my career in Connecticut in my hometown, and Mark came and spoke. A professional big league umpire spoke to the kids."

As a former catcher, Ausmus said relationships behind the plate vary between catchers and umpires. Despite his estimate of nine or 10 ejections as a player, he said he has gotten along with the vast majority. Umpires would even ask Ausmus to check something on video for them to try to keep themselves alert, he said.

"I liked [as a player] to joke with a lot of them and talk to a lot of them," Ausmus said. "I think I understood they had a job to do and there was going to be mistakes. I always tried to be honest with them, and that goes both ways, whether I was giving them good news or bad news. I'd rather be honest, because they're going to look at it on video afterward, anyway."

Zak Kerr is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.