Major League Baseball has announced that retired umpire Steve Palermo has passed away at the age of 67.
Palermo broke into the majors as an ump late in the 1976 season and was a full-time umpire through the middle of the 1991 season. On July 7 of that year his on-field career was cut short, however, when he was shot in the back while he and fellow umpire Rich Garcia intervened to stop a mugging of two waitresses outside a restaurant near Dallas following a Texas Rangers game. It was an act that would define his life and legacy.
Palermo sustained a bullet wound to his spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down. While it was first thought he would never walk again, just over three months later he threw out the first pitch at a World Series game with the aid of a cane and leg braces. He would later serve as supervisor of major league umpires, worked as a motivational speaker and did some pregame TV work for the New York Yankees, in addition to charitable work and further ceremonial duties with Major League Baseball.
Our thoughts go out to Palermo’s family, friends and loved ones.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.