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Umpire clears the stands at Iowa high school game, ejects entire crowd

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Umpire Don Briggs gave the entire crowd at a West Burlington, Iowa, baseball game the thumb, booting more than 100 fans fans for being unruly earlier this week.

Briggs said he had no problem with any of the student athletes during Thursday's game between Winfield-Mount Union and West Burlington. He said he had to take action because fans were being unruly, yelling and arguing.

"I know it sounds like I'm the bad guy -- but it was the crowd," Briggs said. "If I got the control to ask one person to leave, I feel like I can ask them all to leave."

However, West Burlington Superintendent James Sleister said he didn't see any unusual behavior and said he thought the umpire overreacted.

The game resumed after a 40-minute delay. West Burlington won 12-11.

Many of the fans, as it turns out, pulled a Bobby Valentine and just lingered despite the umps hook, according to the Des Moines Register:

The crowd, estimated to be more than 100 people, lingered. Some people refused to leave. Others moved 30 feet away to a sidewalk officially off school property. The delay lasted nearly 40 minutes.

Eventually, West Burlington Superintendent James Sleister arrived and persuaded the umpire to allow the game to continue. Fans returned and the game resumed, under the agreement that "anyone making a negative comment toward the officials would be ejected from the premises and could be charged with disorderly conduct."

The umpire called police as a precaution. West Burlington police officer Al Waterman says there were no arrests.

But really, anything that allows us to remember the greatest ejection in baseball history is OK in the end. Phillip Wellman, here's your cue:

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I am a player for West Burlington. That was the craziest thing I've ever seen at a baseball game. We rallied back from an 11-3 deficite to 11-9. The Winfield/Mount Union coach came out to argue a ball hit down the line by Taylor Newland. The umpire (Don Briggs) never called time so our coach sent Calab McDowell home. Briggs rulled that the play was dead and sent Calab back. Our coach went to argue. Both benches were warned and so were the fans. The someone who wasn't even on school property yelled something and thats when Briggs went off. He said another pitch wouldn't be thrown untill everyone left. Then he tried to get our coach to eject everyone. Since the coach had no power to do such a thing Briggs borrowed a cell phone and called the police. Eventually our school superentendent Jim Sclister was called to the game and got Briggs to let everyone stay as long as no more negative comments were yelled. We won the game in the bottom of the ninth when Dustin Guihan stole home on an attemted squeeze play.

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