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More umpires gone wild: Mike Eastabrook gets in Jason Kendall's face

Jun 4, 2010, 5:04 PM EST

Yost Estabrook.jpgAt this point I’m thinking that there had to have been a memo sent out to all the umpires that acting all insecure and combative is the new thing to do because it happened again yesterday, this time involving home plate umpire Mike Eastabrook.

Zack Grekine threw a pitch that both he and catcher Jason Kendall thought was a strike (and, based on the video looked like a strike). Kendall obviously said something, but it’s not like he made a scene about it. Catchers and umps go back and forth on this stuff all the time.

Estabrook, however, didn’t appear too comfortable with that because he walked around Kendall — who was back in his crouch — bent over and started to jaw with him in a manner that suggested he was giving Kendall the “you talkin’ to ME?” thing.  Kendall didn’t take the obvious bait.  At that point Ned Yost came out to protect his catcher, got into it with Estabrook and was ejected with about 57% more theatrical flourish than you normally see in such situations.

Kendall after the game:  “He got in my face, and it was unprofessional what he did.”

Yost:

“The catcher will say something but he never turns his head back, and
the umpire will usually jaw back and stay right behind him. And that’s fine. That’s how they handle things. But to step out in
front and make a bit of a scene isn’t right . . . I’ll never let an umpire show up one of my players, and that’s exactly
what he was doing.”

I’m 100% on Yost’s and Kendalls’ side here. I have no idea why umpires have been acting out the way they’ve been lately, but they’re making utter fools of themselves.

Make a call. Stick with it. When someone jaws at you about it, simply say “That’s my call. Now let’s play ball.” How hard is that?

(thanks to reader Richard D. for the heads up)

  1. jjschiller - Jun 4, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    Ron, I believe you’re a bit too busy putting words in to my mouth to actually hear what I’m saying here. What the umpire did is never right. It’s never right for an umpire to seek the visible conflict. Never right. No matter what he said.
    I’m going to stop arguing with you now. I’d like to thank you for playing the role of Mark Estabrook, and allowing me to play the roll of Jason Kendall. I feel we’ve both managed to prove my point here.
    CAPTCHA: whoosh by. Very appropriate.

  2. Steve C - Jun 4, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    Yes, it was a strike.
    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/pfx.php?s_type=3&sp_type=3&batterX=20&month=06&day=03&game=gid_2010_06_03_anamlb_kcamlb_1%2F&year=2010&pitchSel=425844&prevGame=gid_2010_06_03_anamlb_kcamlb_1%2F
    I

  3. Jon M - Jun 4, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    I was at the game. Funny thing was this ump, started the game jawing with Scioscia after a very similar pitch at the top of first inning. He was grandstanding. We thought Mike was going to get tossed within a couple of hitters. Then when Yost came out, we all new the ump was going to toss him in no time.

  4. Nick - Jun 4, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    What exactly did Kendall do to “show up” the umpire? He didn’t turn around and pick a fight.
    And even if Kendall DID do show him up, the umpire still isn’t justified in his actions. The ump was the aggressive party, coming out from behind home to yell in his face. Kendall didn’t make a single aggressive move.
    I feel for umpires. It’s definitely a tough and unrewarding job. But he CHOSE it. And part of that job is to maintain order and decorum and to NOT be emotional on the field.

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  6. Ross - Jun 4, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    Craig, when you deal with this spambot, please don’t ban half the country again. ;)

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  8. Dan in Katonah - Jun 5, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    Ron,
    Your repeated beligerence in responding to everyone definitely marks you as umpire potential. Kendall is a 15 ML veteran. If he said the magic words, he would be instantly tossed and he knows it, you know it and anyone who follows baseball knows it. If he were acting like even half the ass that the ump was, he would not have stayed in his crouch. No, we did not hear the conversations leading up to it, but we did see the pitch and the umps actions. You feel free to ignore your eyes, but we all saw was a rookie ump acting too big for his britches. If you can’t take the 100 degree Missouri heat, stay in the minors, which is where this guy is heading back to stay.

  9. Jeff O - Jun 5, 2010 at 2:21 AM

    No one is saying that umpiring is easy. But it’s their damn job. If they can’t handle the bull crap, they need to get another one. They get paid very very good money, ($120,000-$350,000), to not make scenes like this.
    If they can’t call a fair game and remain professional, they need to find a new profession.

  10. al - Jun 5, 2010 at 7:05 AM

    Obviously whatever “discipline” is being handed down to the umpires gone wild is not working, it’s getting worse!

  11. Dustin - Jun 5, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    I would like to hear what Torii Hunter has to say about it. He had to hear everything. That would help.

  12. jjschiller - Jun 8, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    No word yet on if Hunter thinks the whole thing was planned so he’d be distracted and strike out on the next pitch, because, you might have heard, he’s black.
    Out of line?
    Captcha: “handicap adventure.”

  13. Joe - Jul 26, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    Maybe we didn’t watch the same game, but I’m not sure how Kendall was showing Eastabrook up. After the pitch, he just sat there in his crouch. The commentators even said “Kendall didn’t look startled by that call… but then again, he’s a veteran.” He did nothing overt. He obviously said something over his shoulder that set the umpire off, but guess what – his job is to be a professional, and to settle confrontations calmly and peacefully. Lately there have been way too many cases of umpires showing off their short fuses and either starting or escalating conflicts with players. This just shouldn’t happen. I’m not saying players are in the right when they start or escalate conflicts either, but when they do, the umpire can toss them from the game. What recourse does a player have?
    Bottom line, it doesn’t matter what Kendall said. If it was that bad, he should have tossed him right then and there, it was absolutely unprofessional for him to do what he did. I’m not saying I wouldn’t want to do the same thing… heck, I’m not saying I wouldn’t do the same thing in his position, but that’s exactly why I’m not an umpire. His job is to call the game fairly and without letting emotion or ego get in the way, and he obviously didn’t do that. Ron, as someone who has umpired before, I would have thought you would know that.
    http://joesplace36.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/just-call-the-game-blue/

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