MLB Umps Wear White Wristbands to Protest Increased Verbal Attacks by Players

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured Columnist

Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez, listens to Detroit Tigers' Ian Kinsler (3) as manager Brad Ausmus stands by in the fifth inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. Kinsler and Ausmus were ejected by Hernandez during the argument. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The World Umpires Association, which represents MLB umpires, issued a statement Saturday saying its members will wear white wristbands "to protest escalating verbal attacks on umpires and their strong objection to the Office of the Commissioner's response to the verbal attacks." 

The complete statement can be viewed below: 

The WUA also relayed a photo of umpire Joe West donning the white wristband: 

Comments from both umpires and players have forced Major League Baseball to take disciplinary action in recent weeks. 

The first incident involved West, who was suspended three games for calling Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre the game's biggest complainer. 

"Every pitch you call that's a strike, he says, 'Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!'" West told USA Today. "I had a game with him recently and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, 'That ball is outside.'"

The second incident involved Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler and umpire Angel Hernandez. 

Still fuming after he was ejected from Monday's game against the Rangers in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes, Kinsler unloaded during a postgame meeting with reporters. 

"No, I'm surprised at how bad an umpire he is," Kinsler said, per the Detroit News' Chris McCosky. "I don't know how, for as many years he's been in the league, that he can be that bad. He needs to re-evaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line.

"If I get fined for saying the truth, then so be it. He's messing with baseball games, blatantly."

Kinsler was subsequently fined by Major League Baseball but avoided a suspension. Kinsler spoke about the umpires' protest after the Tigers lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, per ESPN.com:

"I really don't think too deeply into it. I hope they wear the white wristbands for the rest of their careers. I don't care. I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, that's their problem.''