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Bill Hohn is being taken to the woodshed

Jun 2, 2010, 9:50 AM EDT

Bill Hohn.jpgBaseball rarely if ever comments publicly on umpire discipline, so when it was announced that Joe West was being fined the other day that was (a) big news; and (b) evidence that he really screwed up.

What, then, to make of this from Bob Watson, baseball’s director of discipline?

A Major League Baseball official says umpire Bill Hohn will be addressed
“in a very stern way” after a confrontation with Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt.

Sure, you could say that a reprimand, which is what this sounds like, is kind of a nothing punishment.  But to think that is to misunderstand how institutional punishments tend to work.  You give reprimands — and, more importantly, make statements like this announcing the reprimands — to lay the groundwork for escalated discipline later.

As many noted in the Oswalt thread yesterday, Hohn has had a history of bad behavior.  Baseball, it seems to me, is acknowledging that here, and is hopefully setting the stage for more severe action later, when he inevitably messes up and lets his ego run wild again.

Maybe that’s not as satisfying as tying him to a stake, smearing honey on him and letting the red ants run free, but it’s about as much as we can hope from Major League Baseball when it comes to umpire discipline.

  1. Chuck - Jun 2, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    but check out the pimp mustache

  2. rock - Jun 2, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    I am satisfied on his decisions so far

  3. Jonny5 - Jun 2, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    I’m surprised the Astros didn’t surround and mug this guy on national television. He was way out line. Someone has to make a stand against these ego-maniacs. They have this “this is my game” mentality.

  4. Jason @ IIATMS - Jun 2, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    That moustache screams “I’m a badass” or “I drive a Dodge Stratus”
    one or the other.

  5. Jonny5 - Jun 2, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    Naaa, I see him in a much more “Joe Dirt” style Dodge Dart with a superbird wing on the back, and a “Hemi motor” under the fiberglass hood with a chain and padlock on it to protect that there Motor…. BTW Jason, you got blasted pretty hard over the whole “people in my section” post. Wow! I thought it was funny. But then again I laugh real hard at people when they fall, So I may be seeing it through my warped sense of humor.

  6. smsetnor - Jun 2, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Before I say anything, I’m not condoning recent umpire behavior. They get paid an awful lot and should act like professionals…
    But this whole “I wasn’t talking to him” excuse on it’s own is fairly flimsy. Even if Oswalt was yelling to the dugout but saying things about the umpire, he’s still saying things about the umpire. You don’t have to face someone to call them out. It’s happened to me plenty of times officiating where a plyer thinks it’s OK and not unsportsmanlike to yell things like, “This ref effing blows” at his coach standing right next to me.
    It’s like saying saying, “With all due respect” and then eviscerating someone verbally:

  7. Jonny5 - Jun 2, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    “It’s happened to me plenty of times officiating where a plyer thinks it’s OK and not unsportsmanlike to yell things like, “This ref effing blows” at his coach standing right next to me.”
    Well, stop blowing and you won’t hear that. What makes Umps so special that they can’t be criticized for horrible calls? Is it their game and the players are merely pawns in it? Umps should be able to take some heat without freaking out or throwing people out of games for a simple statement. Next they’ll be tossing fans for yelling about how horrible they are.

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