Shitty umpiring in MLB is nothing new, and there's been a string of horrid examples of that recently. There's guys like Joe West and CB Bucknor who are still convinced they're the center of attention. There's Mark Wegner blatantly ignoring baseball code and tossing pitchers for no reason. There's Tim Welke just straight not giving a damn if first basemen are actually on the base. But the whole Laz Diaz-Russell Martin "throwing balls back to the pitcher" thing from last night might take the cake.
Martin wasn't happy with some of the ball and strike calls earlier in the game, and rather than be a professional and just take it, Diaz decided to assert some false authority over Martin as punishment for Martin daring to question his umpiring abilities.
"He told me I had to earn the privilege (to throw the ball back to the pitcher). Even at the end of the game after I get hit in the neck. I’m like, can I throw the ball back now? He’s still like no. I’m like you’re such a (expletive). Like for real. Unbelievable. I even told him like when there’s guys on base, I like to keep my arm loose. No. I’m not letting you throw a ball back. That’s pretty strange to me."
"He told me I have to earn the privilege. Now, thinking back, I should have shown him the gold Rawlings sign on my glove. Unbelievable.” (Martin after the game)
Click "Read More" to get the full rantiness.
I know I called him out in the post below for not getting it done at the plate, but props to Martin for being the bigger man in the situation last night and not letting it escalate into a bigger confrontation and possible ejection from the game. And even bigger props to him for calling Diaz out for his bullshit after the game and making sure that everybody got the story of what was going on out there.
I understand that umpires are human and they're going to make mistakes, but things like this have to stop. If players are going to be held to such high standards in terms of in-game decorum and how they carry themselves between the chalk lines, then the same standards should apply to the umps. Missing calls is one thing, but acting in such a demeaning, unprofessional manner towards a player like Diaz did is absolutely unacceptable. Quite frankly, Laz Diaz hasn't earned the right to anoint himself the Keeper of The Balls, and he certainly hasn't earned the right to treat an All Star and Gold Glover like some sort of punk.
Major League Baseball needs to stop turning a blind eye to incidents like this and start putting umpires in their place. It's a fucking joke. These guys are out there to call balls, strikes, outs, fair and foul, and nothing more. If they aren't even going to do that correctly, they have no business getting involved in any other kind of activity with the guys competing on the field. Even if they are doing their jobs well, they still have no business acting the way Diaz did last night. Hey Bud, stop focusing on players doing things that were a normal, acceptable part of the game as recently as 15-20 years ago and start focusing on the shitty umpires who decide it's time to go on a power trip when their feelings get hurt.
P.S.- Does anybody know what the actual expletive was? Seems like it should be "dick," but "shithead" or "asshole" would work there too.
(Quotes courtesy of Marc Carig and Chad Jennings)