Umpire and Player Altercations: Where Is the Actual Line Drawn?

Gage Arnold@GageArnoldCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2008

So, on the topic of Edwin Encarnacion being thrown out last night for absolutely no reason.

It perplexes me how the umpires are held in such higher regards above players, and that they are, in fact, abusing their power.

This was also put on my mind with the recent spat with Carlos Beltran, Jerry Manuel, and umpire Brian Runge.

Beltran was upset with two called strikes that he watched fall over the plate, and he was dissatisfied with the calls.

So Beltran, a player who usually keeps these kinds of things to himself, keeps antagonizing Runge as he goes to sweep the plate off.

Manuel, noticing the calls, comes out of the dugout to discus the calls, and this too is a problem to me. Manuel shouldn't have been out there. It clearly states that you aren't allowed to argue balls and strikes. Manuel was in the dugout; I remain solidly sure that Runge had a better call.

But taking nothing away, Runge continues to take the argument on and spares only a few moments before turning and bumping Manuel as he throws him out.

This really upset me. I mean, if ANY player at all, MLB, NFL, NBA, touches an official, he is automatically thrown out, suspended, heavily fined, and not to mention, looked down upon.

So what gives these umpires the right to go out and touch a manager?

They too should have to deal with the whole situation and process players go through when they touch an umpire.

Now, Runge was punished, but to me it was just a slap on the wrist. He had a one-game suspension and was fined $5,000.

This is nothing but pocket change, and a one-game suspension is nothing compared to the one or two-week suspensions players face by even grazing an umpire.

Not to mention the $25,000-$50,000 fine they experience.

This has been a problem developing for some time. Not the "umpire touching a player," as much as it is the "umpire's taking advantage of situations."

Example: Last night, the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Cincinnati Reds. Ryan Doumit is sent to third on a double to deep center by Adam LaRoche.

The relay comes into Brandon Phillips, who sends it to Encarnacion, and he promptly tags Doumit out by what appears to be a step or two.

But umpire Chad Fairchild rules him safe.

Encarnacion jumps up to defend his case and to tell him he was out by a step.

What does Fairchild do?

He immediately throws Encarnacion out without hesitation.

I can understand getting frightened by having a player jump up right in your face, but he still deserves a chance to explain his case, especially since he was out!

Umpires automatically have the upper hand in any battle, and deservedly so, but still they at least have to give you a chance to explain yourself.

Just because they see you come to them, they don't have the right to automatically throw you out.

This is becoming a huge problem, as it seems every night we have a manager being ejected.

This isn't good folks. We shouldn't have a manager a night being tossed.

A major factor as to why this is happening is the fact that the umpires, not the managers, are the ones beginning to prompt the arguments.

So a manager comes out to check and make sure that the umpire is up-to-date and understands what's going on.

The umpire sees him and automatically has the mindset that he's going to throw him out.

That shouldn't be the first course of action for umpires.

This tells me that it has been put in their heads, and they understand they have authority, and that they should be the ones who use it for good, not to begin arguments.

We often forget that umpires are supposed to be the most cool, calm, and collected guys on the field.

The one's who are supposed to keep their cool, but instead, they manipulate the system and benefit themselves, while keeping a solid reputation.

This, to me, seems like a spreading problem, and we seriously need to take a look into this, especially with the Tim Donaghy scandal in the NBA.

To stop this growing and overlooked problem, we may need to do a little deeper investigating, but the problem is still here, and will remain here until someone decides to step up and take a stand against it.


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