Chipper calls umpiring 'a joke' after loss to Phillies

Updated: September 5, 2007, 7:21 AM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Not long after the Atlanta Braves lost for the 10th time in 14 games, Chipper Jones had some choice words for home plate umpire Rick Reed.

Chipper Jones

Jones

Third Base
Atlanta Braves

Profile

2007 Season Stats
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
114 23 81 85 .415 .328

The Braves struck out six times in a 5-2 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday night, continuing their descent in the NL East.

Jones hit a solo homer in the fourth and accounted for another RBI in the fifth when he walked with the bases loaded. He did not strike out in the game, but his at-bat against Phillies starter Kyle Lohse in the fifth made him furious.

"The first pitch to me with the bases loaded was in my batter's box, inside," Jones told reporters after the game. "Now you tell me how I'm supposed to hit that. We have to get Questec here in this ballpark. We've got to. Umpires have got to be held accountable. That's Little League World Series stuff right there."

Jones, the 1999 NL MVP, was hardly pleased to see the two hitters in front of him, Willie Harris and Kelly Johnson, both pop up in the infield, and the batter behind him, Mark Teixeira, ground out. But he simply couldn't make sense of his own at-bat in the fifth.

Jones, who began the night with a .328 average that ranked sixth, didn't think Reed's crew gave the Braves a fair chance.

"It's a joke," Jones said. "I'm tired of it. And baseball can fine me whatever they want. I do not care. Somebody's got to say something. I've got more walks than strikeouts in my career -- I know what a strike looks like."

The Braves, who went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, showed more frustration in the ninth.

With Andruw Jones on first and no outs, Yunel Escobar failed to check a third-strike swing before his bat crossed the plate against Phillies closer Brett Myers.

Braves manager Bobby Cox jogged out of the dugout to argue with first base umpire Alfonso Marquez and protect the emotions of Escobar, who was visibly upset. In less than one minute, the manager turned his back and walked to the dugout. As Cox was stepping into the dugout, Marquez ejected Braves reserve catcher Brayan Pena for arguing balls and strikes.

"You're going to see frustration from now on as long as the officiating is abysmal," Chipper Jones said. "Major League Baseball ought to be ashamed. It's abysmal. It's awful. Not all of them but some of them. It's awful."

Cox was less animated when he spoke to reporters. Jones was interviewed after Cox's postgame session, and the manager wasn't available for comment after his third baseman talked.

"We really have to start capitalizing with some men on base," Cox said. "We just didn't do it."

Added right fielder Jeff Francoeur, "We can't put a streak together to save our lives."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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