Long story short, according to Price on Twitter, Hallion told him: “Throw the [expletive] ball over the plate.’’ Later, Hallion called Price “a liar.’’
MLB fined Price, and Rays pitchers Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore – caught in the cross fire – $1,000 apiece, claiming Price violated baseball’s social media policy. Fair enough, as MLB has a policy in place on social media.
Hallion was fined an undisclosed amount, and one could only hope it was more because MLB feels the umpire provoked and escalated the issue. MLB isn’t saying, and of course, neither is the umpire’s union.
Joe Torre, who oversees MLB disciplinary cases, was dealing with an untenable situation. For years MLB placated the umpires to the point where they’ve become overcome with self-importance and arrogance. He knows there are fine limitations set by collective bargaining with the players, but the umpire’s union plays hardball on every issue, big or small. The Players Association won’t go to war with a fine or limited suspension; the umpires will cross swords if Torre raised his eyebrows to them.
Umpiring is a tough job and these guys, for all the static they receive, do it better than anybody. That’s not to say they can’t do better and improvement can’t be made.
I still say the only way to avoid these “he said, he said’’ confrontations is to have the umpires wired to microphones they can’t control.
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