Major League Baseball said scathing comments from the MLB Umpires Association about Manny Machado and his one-game suspension were not appropriate Tuesday, after the union posted messages to social media blasting the disciplinary action and Machado’s behavior during an argument with an umpire.
Machado was suspended and fined an undisclosed amount for what MLB described as “aggressively arguing and making contact” with home plate umpire Tim Welke after being called out on a third strike Saturday.
In comments posted to its official Facebook account Tuesday, the MLBUA ripped the suspension as insufficient, calling it “a slap in the face of all umpires and a disgrace to the game itself.”
Saying that the San Diego Padres star “violently” threw “his bat against the backstop, with absolutely no regard to anyone’s safety,” the union wrote: “It is NOT okay to throw a temper tantrum and physically touch someone of authority, just because you don’t agree. Violence in all workplaces is not tolerated. Period.”
“Offenders are made examples of by being dealt with severely; not just for the good of all the employees, but for the good of the company itself,” the union continued. “A person is given and granted a level of protection from abusive behavior in any workplace.
“A one game suspension for this type of behavior is a slap in the face of all umpires and a disgrace to the game itself. Physical contact simply cannot be tolerated, and the penalties need to be swift and harsh.”
The MLBUA also posted to Twitter on Tuesday — a tweet in which it made similar comments while adding hashtags including, “#Violence,” “#TemperTantrum,” “#RepeatOffender” and “#Nonsense.”
MLB responded to those comments a few hours later.
“Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires,” it said in a statement.
“We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence,” MLB added.
On Monday, the 26-year-old Machado said he did not think he touched the umpire during the argument.
“Video says it all . . . I think we’ve got a good case,” Machado said. “I don’t think anyone’s ever gotten suspended a game for arguing balls and strikes. I think that’s a little too much, a little unjustified, but there’s a process to this and we’re going to go through it.”
Machado declined to respond to the umpires association’s comments directly Tuesday, saying a chance to “plead my case” was “all we’re gonna worry about.”
“I’ve got MLB and the Padres and ownership behind me on this, we’re all on the same page and we’re going to move forward from this,” he said.
The union’s description of Machado as a “repeat offender” likely stems from a 2014 incident in which the then-Baltimore Orioles star was given a five-game suspension for throwing his bat toward an Oakland third baseman after being brushed back on consecutive pitches during a contentious series against the A’s.
Machado was also suspended four games in 2016 for charging the mound after getting hit by a pitch from Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who was handed a nine-game ban for his role in what turned into a bench-clearing brawl.
Padres Manager Andy Green noted Monday that Machado hadn’t been ejected from a game since 2016.
“This isn’t a habit,” he said. “This is not who he is consistently.”
MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre “considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline,” the league said in its statement Tuesday.
A four-time all-star over his first seven MLB seasons, Machado signed with the Padres in February for $300 million over 10 years. Heading into a game Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers, he was batting .264 with 14 home runs, 40 RBI, an on-base percentage of .346 and a slugging percentage of .464.
“The opportunity has always existed to discuss, privately, any concerns the MLBUA has,” the executive director for the MLB Players Association, Tony Clark, said of the union’s criticism of Machado. “To the extent there is an interest to have a conversation about professionalism and accountability, we are more than willing to have it.”