MLB Umpires’ Protest Against Verbal Attacks Unlikely to Garner Much Sympathy

On Saturday, Joe West and other umpires took the field with white wristbands. They had not all simultaneously come down with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but instead wore the accessories as a form of protest. The umpires are making a statement about what is clearly one of the great issues facing American society in this moment: “escalating verbal attacks on MLB umpires.”

Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected for arguing balls and strikes, got into a heated argument with umpire Angel Hernandez—who is not popular with a significant chunk of MLB players—and minced no words to reporters later. Kinsler said that Hernandez was “messing” with the games: “He’s changing the game. He needs to find another job, he really does. I’m not mad at him. He just needs to go away… when it becomes blatant like this, there is a problem.” Though Kinsler said he expected a suspension for his comments, he only got a fine. In a statement announcing their protest, the World Umpires Association called for the commissioner to take “abusive player behavior” like this more seriously:

Players are almost always suspended for any physical altercation with an ump, even if it’s just incidental or accidental contact while arguing; but for mere verbal condemnation, fines are much more common. It’s also rare for umpires to be

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