Although most umpires will give some leeway, arguing balls and strikes is grounds for immediate ejection. Usually the player who does the arguing is the one who gets ejected, though.

On Friday night in Toronto (TOR 8, NYY 2), home plate umpire Chris Segal ejected Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. The problem? Gardner didn’t say anything. The YES Network broadcast showed Cameron Maybin, who struck out looking earlier in the inning, as well as Yankees manager Aaron Boone, chirping at Segal.

Here’s video of the ejection. YES Network replays showed Gardner in the dugout, and he clearly didn’t say a word. It wasn’t until Boone was on the field arguing the ejection that Gardner realized he had been tossed. He of course came out to give Segal a piece of his mind after that. To the action footage:

Gardner did bang his bat against the dugout roof — he did the same thing prior to Boone’s epic “savages” tirade last month — but no umpire ejects a player for those kind of antics. Throw something on the field? That’s a different story. But venting in the dugout? Umpires almost always let that slide.

Following the game, Boone told reporters, including James Wagner of the New York Times, Segal said he ejected Gardner because several players on the bench were mad. Apparently he just picked one to punish the group.

“I’m usually running my mouth and getting guys fired up. They picked me,” Gardner told Wagner. He added Segal told him he said something from the dugout, to which Gardner said, “He was lying.”

Crew chief Dan Iassogna balked on making any comment about the ejection.

“I won’t comment on any ejection that happened out on the field,” Iassogna told a pool reporter following the game. “It will be put on our report and we will put in what happened on the field and we will watch the tape.”  

MLB could use Gardner banging the dugout roof with his bat to justify the ejection and let Segal save face, but geez, this sure looks like a mistake.