Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco got the benefit of the doubt from home plate umpire Will Little, scoring the first run of Thursday afternoon’s game in Los Angeles without ever actually touching home plate. Franco drew a one-out walk against Clayton Kershaw and moved up to second on a single from Nick Williams. With two outs, Jorge Alfaro lined a single to center field, bringing Franco towards the plate. As you can see in the following video, Franco didn’t come close to touching the plate, but got credit for it anyway.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t challenge the call, so Franco got away with one. How Little missed that is mind-boggling.
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.