Here’s a true rarity: Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez struck out looking against Astros right-hander Jarred Cosart to end the first inning of Monday’s game.
It was his first strikeout looking since Matt Albers, then of the Indians, got him on May 21, 2013.
Martinez had struck out 42 times since that date, but all were of the swinging variety. He had gone 579 plate appearances without striking out looking.
While Martinez has never been a big strikeout guy — his career high is 78, established in 2006 and matched a year later — he’s taken things to a new level this year. Monday’s strikeout was just his fourth in 96 at-bats and 110 plate appearances.
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.