Joey Votto exploded last night. It was fantastic.

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With the caveat that basically all ballplayers and managers who get into heated arguments on the field look silly in an objective sense, can we agree that, within the context of baseball arguments being a thing that we accept, Joey Votto‘s last night was a thing of beauty?

[mlbvideo id=”467648383″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

As C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports here, it all started with disputed ball and strike calls and then, at least according to Bryan Price, got out of hand when Votto asked for time and home plate umpire Bill Welke wouldn’t give it to him.

A couple of things about all of this:

  • Votto is one of the more mild-mannered players in the game. To see him explode like this means he must’ve been REALLY hot.
  • As Rosecrans notes — and as the video makes pretty clear — those were some bogus strike calls on Votto. And, say what you will about arguing balls and strikes, if I trust any player in the game to have a good sense of the strike zone it’s Joey Votto and it’s not even close.
  • The beginning of the argument with Welke is interesting. Votto is unhinged, yes, but Welke’s “you spit on me” thing is so bush league. Umpires have been doing that for ages, and it’s likewise a classic style of aggravation and misdirection used in any sort of argument, be it between ballplayers and umps, husbands and wives or plaintiff and defense counsel. Absent a Roberto Alomar situation where someone spit intentionally, an umpire calling attention to such a thing is clearly calculated to needle the player by injecting a a non-sequitur into the proceedings in a passive-aggressive fashion. Argue back if you must or, even better, stay silent or walk away until the arguing manager or player has decided he’s getting nowhere (and he should never get anywhere). But don’t pull that crap, Welke. We know what you’re doing.

Whatever the case, it was definitely entertaining. And I would guess that anyone left still claiming Votto lacks fire or passion is gonna reconsider now.

Max Scherzer: ‘There’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions’

Max Scherzer
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MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.

Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.

Scherzer’s statement:

After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.

Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.

Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.