Over the past couple of days, a video has gone viral, and for very good reason: It provides remarkable, uncensored audio of a baseball manager chewing out umpires after his pitcher was ejected from a game. If you haven’t seen it — and heard it — you might want to hurry up, because MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday his staff is doing what it can to scrub the footage from the Internet.
“We made a commitment to the umpires that if they would wear microphones, certain types of interactions that we all know go on on the field would not be aired publicly,” Manfred said, following owners meetings in New York.
However, as many have pointed out, the umpire who most bears the brunt of former Mets manager Terry Collins’s rage in the video, which is from 2016, comports himself admirably. Crew chief Tom Hallion does drop an f-bomb or two in his own right, but only in service of trying to defuse the profanity-spewing Collins while showing empathy for the manager.
The background for the explosive moment was an incident in the 2015 playoffs, when the Dodgers’ Chase Utley broke the leg of the Mets’ Ruben Tejada on a slide into second base that many observers, and not just in the New York dugout, thought was dirty. Utley was initially suspended two games, but he appealed and was able to stay active for the rest of the series, won in five games by a Mets team that chose to save retribution for a less meaningful time.
The following spring, MLB executive Joe Torre overturned the suspension, meaning Utley faced no punishment for his injury-causing slide — until he arrived at Citi Field in May. In the third inning of the second game of that series, Utley saw New York’s Noah Syndergaard throw a 99-mph fastball behind his back, which got the pitcher immediately tossed, leading to Collins’s explosion.
Here is how that sequence played out on national TV, with Fox Sports’s announcing crew expressing surprise that Syndergaard was being ejected, instead of home plate umpire Adam Hamari issuing both teams a warning to not escalate matters in any way.
Okay, and here is how it sounded on the field, at least as far as Hallion was concerned. Warning: There is A LOT of profanity (and if this version of the video has been removed, well, you can surely find it somewhere).
Some takeaways from the uncensored video:
- Nice try by Syndergaard to play dumb — “I’m trying to throw a f—— fastball.” Sure, dude.
- Hallion twice says, “Our a– is in the jackpot,” which has generally been interpreted as making the point that his crew had to take action after the pitch at Utley because the teams’ recent history meant the series was already under scrutiny from MLB officials.
- Former Met Neil Walker asks a fair question about why there hadn’t been a warning beforehand, to which Hallion replies, “Everybody knows what the situation is.”
- Collins goes old-school in asking for frontier justice, yelling, “You gotta give us a shot!”
- Hallion shows great understanding of Collins’s frustration, taking little apparent umbrage at the manager’s language and asking as Collins finally starts cooling down, “You got everything out?”
Manfred explained Thursday, though, that his office not only “promised” its umpires that if they agreed to wear microphones, the audio would never leak out, but that such a stipulation was written into their collective bargaining agreement. “We had no choice in a situation like that, then, to do everything possible to live up to our agreement,” the commissioner said (via the AP).
“It is Labor Relations 101. To not do that is the kind of breach of trust that puts you in a bad spot over the long haul.”
In a statement to Sporting News, MLB explained that its guidelines state that “all audio from umpire microphones that are not aired during the telecast are to be deleted immediately after the game.”
Manfred said he was “disappointed” by the leak of the video, adding (via the New York Post), “I think we need to figure out how it got out. … Getting angry about that, there’s not really much of a point in that. I think it’s more important that we make clear to our employees that we’re doing everything possible to live up to our agreement, and that we figure out how it happened so it doesn’t happen again.”
For his part, Collins, who stepped down after the 2017 season and was given a different position in the Mets’ organization, had a somewhat different reaction to the leak of the video. When informed by SNY that his rant, in all its profane glory, had gone viral, the 69-year-old paused before saying lightheartedly, “Oh no.”
Read more from The Post: