Ever see news reports from towns in the path of a hurricane? In the days before landfall, you always see houses with boarded up windows, and there’s always some joker who paints something like “Hey Hurricane Betsy! Blow this!” on them just as fun. We laugh, but tempting the fates like that is rather empowering, actually. It helps one control their anxiety. Gives one humor and bravado to bolster one’s courage.
I worry that the Braves are taking this too far, however, in the number they gave Dan Uggla at today’s press conference. As you can see, it’s number 26. You know who else wore number 26 and played second base for the Braves?
Brooks was here. Empowerment or not, personally, I would have suggested a different number.
(thanks to reader Jonathan Ganz, who pointed out the number’s previous owner)
Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.
This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:
“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline. 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. We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”
That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.