Jerry Manuel's one game suspension is over and done with, and the Mets won the game in which he was not on the bench. Yet, I still have a major problem with the fact that Manuel was suspended and fined by the MLB in the first place.
Manuel was ejected from a game versus the Dodgers in Los Angeles on July 20, and was handed the suspension a week later from the MLB. Apparently, the brim of his cap brushed the cap of the umpire Doug Eddings.
I completely understand the MLB's point of view that they need to exert their authority, and prevent run-ins between managers and umpires. Yet, in this instance the MLB is wrong for suspending Manuel.
During that game, Manuel was arguing a blown call. It was a critical call too. A run would have scored and extended the inning, with the next batter coming to the plate with runners on first and third. Yet, Eddings missed the call, and Manuel justifiably came out to argue.
Sure, the brim of his cap may have accidentally touched the brim of Eddings cap, but Manuel would not have even been out there in the first place had Eddings not blown the call.
With all that has gone on this summer, we're learning more and more that umpires and referees are far from perfect. But you just can't suspend a manager for arguing a call that an umpire got wrong. You just can't.
To me, suspending Manuel is sending an awfully wrong message. In essence, the MLB is saying to the umps, "Don't worry if you blow a call, we got your back". It's telling managers to think twice about going out and arguing a call, even if they are right and the umpire is wrong.
Just the week before, the Mets had another run in with an ump Phil Cuzzi, who let his temper show after missing a strike call and the Mets' bench and closer Francisco Rodriguez reacted (Cuzzi also missed another critical play at the plate, but that's beside the point.) Cuzzi was wrong, the Mets reacted, and then Cuzzi overreacted. Yet, there was no discipline for Cuzzi's actions.
The point is, there cannot be a double standard. Umpiring errors are proving to be a part of the game now more than ever. But if umps screw up, managers are justified to argue with them. If the MLB decides to discipline managers for arguing with umps, especially when they are right, they are defending the umps and sending a drastically wrong message.
I would hope that by now, the MLB would learn, but I guess not. Hopefully, this was just an isolated incident. But if managers continue to get disciplined for arguing blown calls, it's going to be a slippery slope.
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