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

Jun 4, 2010, 5:04 PM EDT

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.”


“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. nps6724 - Jun 4, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Man, Ned just POUNCED out of the dugout! He just tore into that ump. Rightfully so. That was completely unprofessional and way worse than what Joe West did IMO. West had an itchy trigger finger, but this guy STOPPED THE GAME so he could get in Kendall’s face. I’ve never seen that before.

  2. SouthofHeaven - Jun 4, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Jesus, what a mega-douche. I hope this guy gets punished like West.

  3. The Common Man - Jun 4, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    I don’t know what Eastabrook’s problem was and I don’t care. Totally unprofessional. What is Kendall, a five-year old? I get that Eastabrook may have felt he needed to control the game more, as a minor league ump who was just up for the day, but his behavior is going to get him sent right back.
    Given the rise of this kind of behavior we’re seeing, I wonder what is happening in umpire training that is leading to this boorishness. Or are umps coordinating their behavior as some kind of misguided collective demonstration against players, managers, and the oversight they’re receiving. Doesn’t seem likely, but the frequency of these incidents gives one pause.

  4. tjw - Jun 4, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Institute a rule that says umpires may not engage with players or managers unless they are first engaged. There’s no reason for an ump to be the instigator.

  5. southpaw - Jun 4, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    The thing we don’t know is what Kendall said to him. It could have been something really bad that warranted Estabrook to come out from behind him and give him a tongue lashing.

  6. Trevor B - Jun 4, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    Maybe Jim Joyce should take over as Pres. of the Umpire’s Union.

  7. JimmyY - Jun 4, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    Great comment Craig, but man, where’s Tiffany?

  8. j4b - Jun 4, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    If he said something that bad, he should have been thrown out on the spot and not confronted.
    If I were Kendall, I would have gone up to the crew chief and told him I was not going back behind the plate until he takes action.

  9. nps6724 - Jun 4, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    There’s nothing Kendall could’ve said to warrant that reaction unless he made a death threat and I highly doubt that occurred. Kendall also didn’t make any kind of scene that would indicate there was a problem. Sorry, but there’s no excuse for that bush league crap.

  10. Geoff - Jun 4, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    That’s not the point. There’s nothing that can be said that warrants this type of behavior from a professional umpire or referee. If what was said was so bad, he could’ve simply ejected Kendell. Instead, he chose to make a scene and make himself the star. Inexcusable and unacceptable.

  11. Rob A from BBD - Jun 4, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    Wow, I thought since the Jim Joyce thing and all the other incidences this year that MLB would have sent a memo to umpires telling them to just tone it down. Guess I was wrong.
    I’ve never seen an umpire be so belligerent before. If it is true that this guy was just called up from the minors for the day there is no way he sticks around, right?

  12. Infinite Wisdom - Jun 4, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Long story, short.. Umpires are shitheads.
    CAPTCHA: Mr smocking. That was my nickname in high school.. I did a lot of watercolor painting.

  13. Charles Gates - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    If an umpire is acting all weirdly like, can’t you just turn him off, let him power cycle, then turn him back on again?

  14. Ron - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    And maybe the umpire tried to get Kendall to stand up and turn around to talk to him, instead of using the easy way out of doing it over his shoulder? And maybe Kendall went over the line and said a few magic words? Or maybe he was arguing balls and strikes, which is against the rules.
    And instead of tossing Kendall, the ump tried to give him the chance to shut up and act professional.
    I don’t know. I’ll be no one else posting knows. I learned a long time ago that if 2 people are involved in a situation, there are 2 sides to it. If 3 people are involved, there are 3 sides. If 4 people are involved, there are 4 sides. And so and so forth.
    Until the ‘entire’ situation is known, then making judgements really doesn’t make sense. It’s just silly speculation.

  15. The Rabbit - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    It looks like umpires need to take a lesson from Milton Bradley and get some anger management help…either that or MLB needs to start spiking their water bottles with Prozac coupled with a mood stabilizer.
    I need to find out how long that bozo, Joe West, has been president of the union. The fact that the other umpires would elect him gives me an indication of a serious problem.

  16. Nate - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    GIven all of the umpire failure that’s been going since last year’s playoffs, you;d think umpires would stop acting like 4th graders. Bring on the machine overlords! No more blown calls, no more attitudes.

  17. Ron - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    And the reason I take the side of the umpire on this is because I’ve been there and done it. Maybe he was wrong. But unless you’ve done it yourself, you don’t know what it’s like.
    Some of you guys spend all of your time pissing and moaning about the umpires, but how many of you have ever got out there and done it.
    Trying doing a Legion or Babe Ruth double header on a hot summer day in Missouri, when the tempature is 100 degrees, you’re sucking dust down, and you lose 20 pounds in body weight from the weight of the gear and busting your ass out from behind the play to make sure you can make the call correctly. All while the coaches, players, and fans of both teams debate whether your father and mother were actually married. All while making $20 a game.
    And maybe by the time they get to the major leagues, they expect guys playing a game for a living while making millions of dollars of year to act like fdrigging professionals themselves, instead of challenging them on every call they make.

  18. jjschiller - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    It’s the umpires job to keep order. He CREATED HIS OWN DISORDER.
    Every single player on the field, and in the dugouts, and every fan in the stands that day lost respect for that umpire and lost faith in his ability to impartially call that game, because all THEY saw was an umpire berate a professional.
    All everyone else could see is, Kendall doing nothing to visibly show him up and make him look bad. They all saw him try to visibly call out Kendall.
    Kendall didn’t try to make him look bad. And he tried to do that to Kendall.
    And he looked like a clown, doing it.

  19. Ron - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    So tell me what the entire conversation was?
    From the 1st pitch, to the “incident”.
    Really, since you know everything that was said, fill in the rest of us.

  20. Ron - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    Ever got mad at someone at work because they acted like a complete dick all day and you finally just had enough?
    Shouldn’t you always act professinal and not create disorder?
    If not, glad to know that you’ve evolved into a super human devoid of all emotion.

  21. jjschiller - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    Doesn’t matter what he said, Ron. It couldn’t matter less what he said.
    He didn’t try to make him look small to everyone else on the field. What he said, he kept private.
    The umpire had to make a big show of whatever he had to say. He tried to make himself look big and make Kendall look small.
    You just can’t do that and keep the faith and respect of the players out there.

  22. Daniel - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    Sorry Ron, I don’t buy it. That’s very flawed reasoning. If the umpire is bothered by heat and heavy clothing, maybe he shouldn’t be an umpire? As Yost said, catchers and umpires have these exchanges all the time. There’s no need for the umpire to escalate things. His job is to calm things down.
    Estabrook had two options there: 1) Stay behind the plate and tell Kendall to cram it (or say nothing) or 2) Toss Kendall.
    Coming out in front of the plate shows Kendall up, and there’s no reason for that.

  23. Ron - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    So you don’t know what happened before that? You’re just speculating?
    In other words, you’re picking 20 seconds out of a ball game that lasted well over 2 hours and making a judgement based on that. Good way to make an informed opinion. I’ll bet you get your knowledge of world events by reading the headlines, and never actually reading the story.
    Says a lot more about you as a person than it does about the Eastabrook or Kendall.

  24. Ron - Jun 4, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    I watched the game. Kendall visibly showed up the umpire, and the umpire is wrong for doing the same thing? When he could have just ejected Kendall for being an ass?
    Come again, I missed something?

  25. Terry - Jun 4, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    I’m sorry, I must have missed the part where you were forced to take the job. Just because a job is difficult or puts you in difficult situation doesn’t give you or anyone else the right to be an azzhole.

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