Baseball rarely if ever comments publicly on umpire discipline, so when it was announced that Joe West was being fined the other day that was (a) big news; and (b) evidence that he really screwed up.
What, then, to make of this from Bob Watson, baseball’s director of discipline?
A Major League Baseball official says umpire Bill Hohn will be addressed
“in a very stern way” after a confrontation with Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt.
Sure, you could say that a reprimand, which is what this sounds like, is kind of a nothing punishment. But to think that is to misunderstand how institutional punishments tend to work. You give reprimands — and, more importantly, make statements like this announcing the reprimands — to lay the groundwork for escalated discipline later.
As many noted in the Oswalt thread yesterday, Hohn has had a history of bad behavior. Baseball, it seems to me, is acknowledging that here, and is hopefully setting the stage for more severe action later, when he inevitably messes up and lets his ego run wild again.
Maybe that’s not as satisfying as tying him to a stake, smearing honey on him and letting the red ants run free, but it’s about as much as we can hope from Major League Baseball when it comes to umpire discipline.
Carlos Gomez entered the Rays-Blue Jays game as a pinch hitter last night, struck out looking and was ejected because he argued the call. But though his time in the game was quickly over, his evening was just beginning.
Gomez didn’t even wait for the game to end before taking to Twitter to rip home plate umpire Andy Fletcher First thing he did was post video of himself being called out on strikes, saying “the only job they have is to call balls and strikes. Do you guys think that pitch is a strike?
He went on:
And more, saying that if he kept showing these he’d find ten more pitches like this called strikes that, he believes, were balls:
He also believes that strikes thrown by Rays pitchers were balls:
There were other tweets that he subsequently deleted, but when he got back to his hotel room, he posted a six-minute-long video apologizing for some of those posts, saying “I made a mistake” — it’s not clear what it was he had deleted or what he was mistaken about — but then he went on to say that Fletcher was “brutal” and that he was not doing his job, claiming that if you watched more video of the game you’d see that Fletcher missed more than 30 pitches.
You get ejected for arguing balls and strikes in this league. You get fined for saying bad things about umpires after a game. My guess is that saying LOTS of bad things about umpires after a game, along with video evidence publicly criticizing them, you’re gonna get a BIG, BIG fine and, possibly, a suspension.
Hope that all made you feel better, though, Carlos!