Mets infield prospect Jhoan Urena's quest to stay on the field longer than anyone else came to an ironic end Monday.
After the national anthem prior to Monday's game at Staten Island, Brooklyn's Urena was standing on the foul line in front of the visiting dugout, staring down the Staten Island bench -- it was unclear whether the 19-year-old was competing against a specific Yankee player, though.
Home plate umpire Ryan Wilhelms twice warned Urena to back down. After the third baseman refused, Wilhelms tossed him.
"He was ejected for delay of game in accordance with a memo from Minor League Baseball sent out about national anthem standoffs," Wilhelms said.
Wilhelms was referring to a notice that the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp sent prior to the start of the short-season leagues. The memo instructed umpires to be wary of such faceoffs.
Urena had started every game this season for Brooklyn and was leading the league in starts prior to the ejection. The New York-Penn League All-Star entered hitting .290 with five homers in 68 games.
Such standoffs have become common around baseball, and particularly in the New York-Penn League -- "It's more often you'll see a game with it than without it," one team official said. The standoffs are especially popular prior to rivalry games -- like the New York City showdown between Brooklyn and Staten Island -- and often pit players from opposing bullpens against one another.
The antics aren't limited to Minor League action -- Los Angeles' Scott Van Slyke and St. Louis' Joe Kelly squared off in a memorable showdown prior to Game 6 of last year's National League Championship Series.
Brooklyn was involved in a similar faceoff with Tri-City on Sunday. The ValleyCats' bullpen won the contest and "celebrated" with piggy-back rides back to the 'pen.
Staten Island went on to win the game, 2-1, in 10 innings behind a walk-off homer by left fielder Chris Breen.