The Pirates’ and Mets’ benches emptied in the top of the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s game after Josh Harrison slid hard into second base. Harrison hit a one-out single to put runners on first and second. David Freese then hit a ground ball to shortstop Jose Reyes, who flipped to Asdrubal Cabrera at the second base bag. Cabrera had to hop over Harrison, which caused his throw to first base to be late.
As Harrison was jogging off the field, reliever Jeurys Familia started barking at Harrison. Harrison took exception and started jawing back. With both teams’ rosters congregating between the pitcher’s mound and second base, Harrison could be seen talking calmly with Cabrera and the two bumped fists, showing the two were cool with one another. (Harrison bumped Cabrera’s glove, more accurately.)
Cabrera is a veteran of 12 major league seasons and a fellow infielder like Harrison, so he knew what Harrison was doing and understood there was no malice behind it. The slide also appeared to be perfectly legal.
No punches were thrown and no one was ejected. The Mets didn’t seek retribution on Harrison when he came to the plate again in the top of the 10th inning. He simply grounded out.
The Mets won in the bottom half of the 10th when Wilmer Flores hit a walk-off RBI single.
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.