Canada outfielder Michael Saunders hit .727 playing against Pool D opponents United States, Mexico, and Italy in the World Baseball Classic. Of his eight hits, three were doubles and one was a home run in a deciding game against the U.S. earlier today. Overall, he drove in seven runs with his hot bat.
U.S. third baseman David Wright was considered a top candidate for the award as well, as he hit a crucial grand slam against Italy last night. Overall, he had five hits in 11 at-bats with three walks and five runs batted in as well.
Saunders hit 19 home runs playing right field for the Seattle Mariners last year in his first full season in the Majors.
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.