Reports indicated that home plate umpire Brian O’Nora left Friday night’s Mets-Phillies game at CitiField in the bottom of the first inning due to “illness.” However, Phillies’ beat reporter Kevin Cooney of the Bucks County Courier Times tweeted out that there was discussion in the press box about O’Nora bailing so quickly because he inadvertently swallowed his own chewing tobacco.
Apparently… the press box said that O’Nora swallowed his chew…
— Kevin Cooney (@KevinCooney) April 26, 2013
We’ve waited for MLB, SNY or CSN Philly to post embeddable video, but they have yet to do so. You can watch the video of the incident at MLB.com.
There was discussion on Cooney’s tweet that it might have just been a story that the Mets broadcast team told, and no official word was given on O’Nora’s condition past “flu-like symptoms.” Adrian Johnson replaced O’Nora behind the plate.
We think Cooney’s reporting was right on target. Below are a few screen caps from the video of another umpire puffing out his cheek to indicate tobacco (0:20); Mets manager Terry Collins and an umpire smiling and laughing (1:01); the Phillies bench coaches smirking as Charlie Manuel relays the news given to him by the umpires (1:08) and a dugout of smiling Mets (2:00-2:25) when Collins popped up from the clubhouse expressing that things were “not good.” If O’Nora was throwing up from an illness or having some sort of digestive distress, there’s no way everyone just laughs it off like that. He most likely swallowed his chewing tobacco.