MLBDownload App

Zack Greinke Spiking Points to Thin-Skinned MLB Umpires

HOUSTON,TX- JULY 07: Pitcher Zack Greinke #13 of the Milwaukee Brewers talks with home plate umpire umpire Joe West #22 after he was ejected by first base umpire Sam Holbrook for arguing a close play at first base against the Houston Astros on July 7, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
James MorisetteCorrespondent IIIJuly 7, 2012

Friday, John Heyman of CBS Sports reported the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves were the biggest players in the running to acquire Milwaukee Brewers ace Zack Greinke this trade deadline.

Twenty-four hours later, D.J. Short of Hard Ball Talk reports that Greinke was quickly tossed in the first inning of his outing against the Houston Astros for spiking a baseball in frustration.

From Short:

Greinke gave up a leadoff triple to Jordan Schafer before Jose Altuve hit a chipper to Corey Hart at first base. Greinke ran over to the first base bag to catch the throw from Hart, but Altuve was ruled safe on a very close play. Greinke didn’t argue the call, but took out his frustrations by slamming the ball into the ground. He was then given the boot by first base umpire Sam Holbrook.

You can see the play and the ejection here, via MLB.com.

As if umpires have not been the source of enough fan angst already, here is yet another black eye for an umpiring era marked by thin-skin and short fuses.

Somewhere along the way, umpires forgot they were supposed to work behind the scenes as opposed to being lead actors in the show.

Now, here is what I do not understand: Greinke was angry—perhaps, merely with himself—and he expressed these frustrations by slamming the ball into the ground.

So Holbrook tossed Greinke. Then, to add insult to injury, Holbrook tossed Brewers manager Ron Roenicke after he stormed from the dugout to defend his pitcher.

Could Greinke have handled himself better? Absolutely. Will Greinke look back and feel a little embarrassed. Perhaps. But I am going to go to bat for Greinke on this one.

It is obvious that Greinke was frustrated, perhaps with more than just the close play at first. I think there is more going on here.

Greinke is in the midst of a flurry of trade discussions. Nobody knows what is going on in the guy’s head (especially in light of his social anxiety disorder). He may not want to leave Milwaukee. Who knows?

But sometimes a guy needs to vent. And umpires need to show some discretion in such situations. With that said, here is a question: Is Holbrook so thin-skinned that he cannot handle a simple act of vented frustration from one of the players?

Now if Greinke took the baseball and fired it into the crowd and scouts in attendance for his performance, different story. But Greinke did not do this. The only casualty in this mess was a plot of dirt in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time.

Funny how NBA players get away with spiking basketballs to the moon in frustration.

Of course, there are those who will argue that Greinke is a professional who needs to act the part.

To that I say, "Hogwash!"

Frankly, I am tired of people who tear down athletes who wear their emotions on their sleeves and show some passion in the heat of battle.

While I do not condone perpetual hotheads, I like guys who show some passion from time to time. Baseball players are not robots, after all.

The bottom line is that, all things considered, Holbrook should have given Greinke a warning. But Holbrook decided to steal the show. And Roenicke was right to let Holbrook know it.

You May Also Enjoy:

Has Big League Pitching Lost It's Nastiness?

Mid-Season Report Cards for all 30 MLB Teams

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices