Some MLB umpires wore white wristbands over the weekend, which prompted the question, why are some MLB umpires wearing white wristbands over the weekend?
Is it a reaction to Charlottesville? Or about the crisis in Venezuela? Or the opioid epidemic that is devastating communities around the country? Or is it an appeal for peace on the Korean peninsula?
Nope, the umpires were wearing white wristbands to protest umpires getting yelled at. Seriously. Adults, many of them who have been doing their jobs for decades, decided to throw on wristbands as part of the World Umpires Association’s efforts to “protest escalating verbal attacks on umpires.”
Right, because the biggest problem facing America, no the world, right now is the fact that players and managers are arguing with umpires.
First of all, is there a more ridiculously named organization than the World Umpires Association? The Alliance of Magicians thinks that’s a goofy name. But the World Umpires Association demand to be taken seriously and they weren’t done with their statement:
“This week, a player publicly and harshly impugned the character and integrity of Angel Hernandez – a veteran umpire who has dedicated his career to baseball and the community. The verbal attack on Angel denigrated the entire MLB umpiring staff and is unacceptable.”
That player was Detroit Tiger Ian Kinsler and yes, he brought some fire when he was surprised that he was ejected by Hernandez: “I’m surprised at how bad an umpire he is. 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.”
So the WUA thought that Kinsler was mean to Hernandez, so they all went to a local sporting goods store and bought white wristbands to protest. Wahhhhhh!
Of all the things in the world to be protesting right now, these guys pick this? Seriously? Do you realize how utterly clueless you seem? That truly has to be the worst cause ever.
I’m never going to call someone out for being soft, but that’s not exactly the toughest, most badass thing I’ve ever seen. And there are plenty of umps who carry themselves like tough guys and badasses. Like Gerry Davis who booted Adrian Beltre for not taking his warmup swings in the on-deck circle.
I’m not saying that being an umpire is an easy gig. It’s not. Players are going to yell at you. Managers are going to yell at you. Fans are going to yell at you. But if you don’t want to get yelled at, the answer isn’t to put on a white wristband, it’s to find another job. Umpires wearing wristbands to protest being yelled at is like umpires wearing wristbands to protest going to baseball games. It’s part of the job, just like making nice money and traveling first class.
By the way, there are some really good umpires in baseball. And there are some really terrible umpires in baseball. And there may be some evidence that players and managers are jawing with umpires more than they have in the past. If that’s a problem, there are ways of working with that, but wearing a wristband isn’t one of them. And let’s be real, the next time an ump walks away from a confrontation with a player or manager will be the first. Plenty of umps seem to really enjoy those moments because for once, the action is about them. That’s their big moment. Well, that and when they can do some huge windup to punch out a guy out on a called third strike.
It’s not about you, blue. And throwing on white armbands to “protest escalating verbal attacks on umpires” is the biggest way to make it about you ever. And of course the protest didn’t last that long. Less than a day later, the umps stopped wearing their wristbands. Good. It was a stupid idea from the start and the only good part of the protest was the end of it.