SBD/August 21, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLB Umpires End Protest After Just One Day, Get Meeting With Commissioner Rob Manfred

Some umpires wore white wristbands during Saturday's games in protest
MLB umpires have "ended their one-day protest against alleged mistreatment after the commissioner’s office agreed to meet with them," according to Paul Sullivan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The World Umpires Association tweeted that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred "agreed to meet with union reps after several umpires wore white wristbands during Saturday’s games to show support" for Angel Hernandez. Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler last week said that Hernandez "needs to find another job” and “just needs to go away.” Kinsler was "fined by MLB, but not suspended." That came after umpire Joe West was "recently suspended three games" for naming Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre as "one of the biggest 'complainers' in baseball." The umpires "believe a double standard exists if West can [be] suspended while Kinsler received only a fine." Umpire Bill Miller after Saturday's Tigers-Dodgers game said Kinsler was “not the focus of the situation” and there have been “several instances where umpires have been called out" by players and managers (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/21). USA TODAY's Gabe Lacques noted Cardinals manager Mike Matheny on Wednesday was "ejected after arguing with home plate umpire Chris Segal, noting, 'It's not your show, man.'" Cubs 2B Ben Zobrist recently "advocated for the use of automated umpires" (USATODAY.com, 8/20). 

A "PETTY" DISPLAY: In Michigan, Evan Woodbery noted Tigers manager Brad Ausmus "didn't notice the white armbands worn by two umpires on Saturday," though after the game he "was furious, summoning reporters back into his office to call out the Major League umpires for what he called a 'petty' display." Ausmus: "To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for." Ausmus said that Kinsler's punishment was "anything but lenient." Ausmus: "It's the biggest fine I've ever seen Major League Baseball give a player. So I don't want to hear that he's not being punished." Ausmus said that umpires can "give as good as they can take, and he's 'shocked' by their sudden sensitivity" (MLIVE.com, 8/20).

POINT OF NO RETURN: YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan wrote the relationship between umpires and players has "degraded to unfortunate levels." Players regard umpires as "impediments -- and, in plenty of cases, incompetents -- whose mistakes warrant repudiation." Meanwhile, umpires see players as "increasingly disrespectful toward those whose duties should grant them deference and authority." The "ugliness manifests itself almost daily," but it shows a "staggering lack of self-awareness that umpires would take their gripes public as if doing so would engender some kind of sympathy or public backing." To stage a protest with "any chance of working, an air of moral authority must exist." The umpires "died long ago of self-inflicted wounds." Every time an umpire "weaves himself into a game’s fabric," the "argument in favor of them dictating change dies another death." That is a "shame, because the umpires do make some legitimate points." Progress is "made through actions, not symbols, and protest without substance invalidates the very improvement they seek." Umpires have done "nothing to tamp down the behavior of the worst in their ranks, which is a bad look when that’s exactly what they’re calling upon players to do" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/20).
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