A group of Major League Baseball umpires is feeling singled out and put upon. So on Saturday, they decided to do something about it.
After Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler called out umpire Angel Hernandez earlier in the week, the World Umpires Association released a statement Saturday, saying “the verbal attack on Angel denigrated the entire MLB umpiring staff and is unacceptable.” In addition to the statement, some umps wore white wristbands during games “to protest escalating verbal attacks on umpires and their strong objection to the Office of the Commissioner’s response to the verbal attacks.”
Kinsler, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes Monday, later said Hernandez “needs to find another job” and is “messing with baseball games, blatantly.” He was fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball for his comments.
This aggression will not stand as far as the umps are concerned. “The Office of the Commissioner’s lenient treatment to abusive player behavior sends the wrong message to players and managers. It’s ‘open season’ on umpires, and that’s bad for the game,” they said in the statement.
According to the statement, Kinsler’s fine wasn’t nearly harsh enough a penalty for the umps, who think a suspension was warranted. It stands to reason that a source of the umpires’ grievance comes from veteran Joe West’s recent three-game ban for naming the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre as baseball’s “biggest complainer” in a June story published in USA Today. West was not paid during his suspension.
It’s probably not a coincidence that the WUA sent this tweet on Saturday afternoon:
During Saturday’s game between the Dodgers and Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit, Kinsler started at second and second-base umpire Bill Miller and third-base umpire Todd Tichenor wore the wristbands. The other two members of the crew, Adam Hamari and Chris Segal, did not.
The umpires’ complete statement:
For his part, Kinsler appeared indifferent.