Phils' flamethrower hurls fiery words

Posted: September 12, 2004

NEW YORK — It sounded like dialogue in a Quentin Tarantino film.

Lots and lots of bleeps.

Home umpire Dana DeMuth ejected Billy Wagner for the first time in the lefthander's career yesterday in the ninth inning of an 11-9 victory over the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. And it certainly didn't sit well with Wagner, who had to be restrained before he threw a cooler and a bag of paper cups onto the field.

"I was really upset when he told me why," Wagner said. "Which was, 'Because.' You put it down. Dana DeMuth told me, 'Because.' Son of a [bleep] ain't got a better excuse than that? He don't deserve to be behind that son of a [bleep]."

So what happened?

The Phillies had a 9-7 lead in the ninth, when Wagner came in to save a game the Phillies desperately needed to win to keep their slim postseason chances alive. But Wagner was all over the place. Todd Zeile reached first on a David Bell error, and Wagner walked Danny Garcia with one out. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, and Jason Phillips' grounder to second scored Zeile before Wilson Delgado's single scored Garcia to tie it, 9-9.

Then Cliff Floyd stepped in.

The first pitch came up and in.

The second pitch came up and in.

"The first one was up and in, and I was thinking maybe [there was intent]," DeMuth told MLB.com. "There was squawking by the New York dugout. And squawking by the catcher. Then the second one, I was sure that [Wagner] was throwing at him, and I still am."

Phillies catcher Todd Pratt explained afterward that there was some friendly banter between him and Phillips. Nothing more.

"Suave," Pratt said he yelled to Phillips, who chirped about the pitches. "Suave."

Wagner was hardly suave afterward.

"Let me tell you something," Wagner said. "If I'm throwing at Cliff Floyd, I'm going to throw where that [bleep] hurts and breaks, because I don't want that son of a [bleep] coming out to kick my [bleep]. I know Cliff and he knows damn well I wasn't throwing at him.

" 'Because.' I'll give you 'because.' I couldn't throw strikes. I was horrible today. That son of a [bleep] was [bleep] worse than I was. And that's hard to do."

Is he worried about being fined or suspended?

"I could care less," he said. "Because he's full of [bleep] if he thinks I'm going to serve one day of that [bleep]. Because you know what? He should have a [bleep] suspension for being a [bleep] idiot. If they let him stand behind the plate and call balls and strikes as [bleep] as he is.

"You know what? It's one thing to be thrown out of a game for intent, but when stupidity is involved? Why can't I throw that [bleep] out of the game? He was horrible all game long. He had a four-hour game. [Mets starter Steve] Trachsel was throwing strikes, [Phillies starter Eric] Milton was throwing strikes, and he couldn't pull his hand out of a [bleep] right now."

And in conclusion?

"It turned out good for us, but it was a terrible game," Wagner said. "I tell you right now, I deserve what I got. I was terrible. I was horrible. But being thrown out of the game? That's stupid."

More to come, definitely.

Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874 or tzolecki@phillynews.com.

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