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Rays players, umpire Tom Hallion all facing possible discipline over yesterday’s kerfuffle

Apr 29, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT

Tom Hallion

The stuff yesterday with David Price and Tom Hallion was pretty messed up. Someone there is lying, yes? Either Tom Hallion told Price to “throw the ball over the f-in plate” or he didn’t. If he did, he’s now lying about it and taking a step further by calling Price a liar.  If he didn’t, Price is lying about an ump. Either way, the liar here has get in some trouble. MLB can’t just do that thing where they say they’ve investigated and then do nothing, can they?

At the moment they are at least investigating, Marc Topkin reports. And it’s not just Price and Hallion. Topkin says that MLB is looking at the post-game tweets of Rays player Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore, each of whom, arguably, criticized an ump on Twitter, which is a violation of MLB’s social media policy.

That would be something if they do anything to those guys but not Price or Hallion.

  1. darthicarus - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    I applaud the use of the word “kerfuffle”. I will assume that whatever MLB does we won’t know what was really said (unless a fan has video) and this will be swept under the rug if the ump did in fact say what Price claims. However, Moore & Hellickson will be suspended for 3 games for violating social media policy and be given the standard “we have spoken with the players about appropriate use of social media” speech to which they will appeal and have the suspension reduced to one game which means jack squat to a pitcher and this will all go away.

    • pjmitch - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:16 PM

      Can someone explain to me why players use Twitter at all? Why go thru the hassle and stress? What advantage do they get from it?

      • atltoarizona - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        Just because they’re in the public spotlight means that they can’t use social media like the rest of us? A lot of the players use Twitter as a means of communicating with fans as well as promoting their name. I work for a sports memorabilia store and a lot of the players we bring in for autograph signings use Twitter to let their fans know when/where they can meet them.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        Some players are a lot of fun to interact with. Seeing Brandon McCarthy discuss pitch selection with Harry Pavlidis over twitter was great, asking why certain pitches were thrown in certain counts, etc.

    • flamethrower101 - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:16 PM

      And that’s where MLB has it wrong for me. If players are subject to the public humiliation that is our mainstream media system, then so should the umpires. If they have a spit-poor attitude and make the games all about themselves, they should be punished and we should know about that. The fact that players often get more punishment over these things (or at least the fact that their punishment are made public more) is a joke.

      • evanwins - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        RARELY, and I mean almost never, does an umpire get suspended. As far as any other punishment I doubt there is any.

    • largebill - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      “given the standard “we have spoken with the players about appropriate use of social media” speech” roughly that translates to the players will just stop tweeting because the little bit of enjoyment isn’t worth the hassle.

      • pjmitch - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        atltoarizona, I agree with your response but what a sad world it is that any of us has to use social media for those purposes. For athletes, dealing with the medai apparently isn’t enough, now they have to deal with idiots that ask them why they swung at that slider?

        And the autograph example, hey fans, apparently the sports card store didn’t promote my large ego enough and I am not happy with the expected turnout so please come and see me so I feel important.

    • thomas844 - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:37 PM

      I must thank Craig for the use of this word I never knew about. This will allow me to step up my Scrabble game big time.

  2. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    By this photo of Hallion, I deduce that he is a liar. I have a visual ESP about this sort of thing; you’ll just have to trust me on that! 😉

  3. flamethrower101 - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    “MLB can’t just do that thing where they say they’ve investigated and then do nothing, can they?”

    Yes they can. They don’t have the resources to deal with umpires and their egos. They’re pouring them all into their Biogenesis investigation. So unless one of the umps is taking steroids there’s nothing that can or will be done.

  4. 13arod - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    screw umps they get away with everying

    • scoocha - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      Umps are Supreme Court Justices, they can do no wrong and are not held accountable for anything. They don’t even have to follow the rules if they don’t feel like it. That’s why I’ve always felt that they simply call the game the way they want to and make side bets regarding the winner each night. Otherwise, they are simply the most incompetent people in the world. Outside of balls and strikes, baseball is so easy to officiate.

  5. mybrunoblog - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    I’d be interested to read the official MLB social media policy.

    • darthicarus - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      Enjoy –

  6. bigleagues - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Add this to Chad Fairchild’s absurd ejection of Cody Ross last weekend and “Blue Bitchin 2013” is now in full swing!

  7. evanwins - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    What I don’t understand is, there are cameras with microphones and directional mics everywhere. You can usually hear the umpire call “ball ” or “strike”. So why is there no recorded audio of the exchange? That would be proof of exactly what was said.
    Of course that recording would be property of MLB and they would control whether or not it was released.
    So I say if no discipline comes down on the Rays players the recording exists and MLB know that Hallion instigated.

    Either way, I really can’t stand umpires. I despise the fact that they can be very bad at their job and then be a jerk about it with absolutely no repercussions whatsoever. Where in the real world does that happen? Their contract with MLB is up after next season and I really hope there are drastic changes to baseball officiating that improve the accuracy of the results of the games.

    • albertmn - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      You asked where can you be bad at your job, be a jerk, and get away with it? In the federal government.

    • indaburg - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      “I despise the fact that they can be very bad at their job and then be a jerk about it with absolutely no repercussions whatsoever”

      Exactly. I don’t despise all of them–they are human. Joyce is the perfect example of a good umpire. He’s accountable and contrite about his mistakes. I do dislike those whose egos are bigger than their guts. Hallion was out of line.

    • kalinedrive - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      I despise the fact that they can be very bad at their job and then be a jerk about it with absolutely no repercussions whatsoever. Where in the real world does that happen?

      Police officers. Politicians. Sports team owners.

      • evanwins - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:37 PM

        Police Officers get in trouble all the time. Here;s a famous one: Mark Fuhrman.
        Politicians? Really? Nixon had to resign form the highest office. This list gets bigger everyday.
        Sports team owners face economic repercussions for their bad decisions. How about Frank McCourt, who had his team stripped from him? Jeff Loria isn’t exactly having a great year either and there;s talk of taxpayers foinf after him as well so we’ll see.

        And quite frankly just because a sports team owner doesn’t run his business they way the fans want him to doesn’t make them a jerk.

        I said something to make a point, that point being that as a whole this one group (umpires) seem to be able to get away with whatever they want right in the face of thousands of people watching and the don’t get nary a harsh word, let alone be told to do better.

      • bigdicktater - Apr 29, 2013 at 6:32 PM

        Look for Jimmy Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns and CEO of the Pilot/Flying J Travel Center chain (the nation’s largest) to join your list shortly. His brother, Bill, the Governor of Tennessee, may be close behind. They’re both turds.

  8. largebill - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    “MLB can’t just do that thing where they say they’ve investigated and then do nothing, can they?” Sure they can, and it may be the only thing they can do. If you have two parties giving clearly different statements and are unable to clearly discern which is lying you may have to do nothing rather than to potentially compound the injustice by taking the side of the liar.

  9. proudlycanadian - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    As a Canadian who obviously has not studied the US constitution, I am puzzled. Don’t the players have a constitutional right to tell the truth? How can MLB discipline them if the told the truth?

    • indaburg - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      We also have a constitutional right to tell a lie. It’s the right to free speech. It’s not necessarily the truth.

    • Brian Donohue - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      If Price or anyone else involved is incorporated, then they get full constitutional protection in the U.S. — guaranteed. Otherwise, the Bill of Rights is optional for non-corporate, individual human entities. So, for instance, Price, Inc. (assuming he has the requisite army of corp lawyers) would be immune from harm. The outcome would be a financial settlement between Selig, Inc. and Price, Inc. with no admission of guilt or wrongdoing on either side. Individuals, however, are always subject to surveillance and punishment with or without notice.

      • evanwins - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:19 PM

        I think you are missing the fact that each of these players sign a contract with a union, the MLBPA and by signing that contract they have to adhere to the rules set forth in that contract.

        And really, this isn’t a Constitutional issue, he’s not being arrested or sued. He’s not up against any federal or state laws, he’s up against what HE AGREED TO when he became a professional Major League baseball player.

        As an American he has the right to say whatever he wants. As a Major League baseball player, he doesn’t. If he wants to be a non-MLB player American then he has that opportunity. However, if he wants to remain a MLBPA member he has to abide by their rules.

    • rbj1 - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      That only applies to government. Private employers can impose speech codes on employees. Usually limited to not making derogatory comments about the employer.

      • mazblast - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:03 PM

        Price didn’t make derogatory comments about his employer. He said that Hallion made an obscene and inappropriate comment to him. Hallion didn’t make derogatory comments about his employer. He said that he didn’t say what Price claims he said.

        My prediction–MLB will conduct an internal investigation and find the usual, that the umpire did say it, will do nothing about it, and will say publicly that the investigation is “inconclusive”. The Rays will deal with it the next time Hallion is behind the plate and the game is decided, by having their catcher “miss” a very hard fastball, which will hit Hallion right in the chest protector or mask.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      Don’t the players have a constitutional right to tell the truth? How can MLB discipline them if the told the truth?

      There’s nothing about the truth in the first amendment. As others have mentioned, the First Amendment protects the individual’s right to free speech from the gov’t*. This is why your employer can fire you for what you say. Or sports leagues can fine you for criticizing officials/management.

      *Here’s a link to the them. Hit the amendment link

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        Ugh terrible phrasing there. It protects the individual from the gov’t prohibiting speech.

    • beefytrout - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:03 PM

      Oh they have the right to tell the truth, just like I have the right to tell my boss I don’t give a shit about half the things they tell me.

      My boss also has the right to discipline me if I do so. Same with MLB players.

    • largebill - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      Our bill of rights was written to protect us from our government not from our employer.

    • wholohan - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      You have the right to free speach but you do not have the freedom of reporcussions from what you say. Both parties are wrong in this, weather or not Hallion said what he’s accused of he should not have gone out of his way to provoke Price. Also Price, Hellickson, Moore and whoever else was involved should not have acted like ten year olds and responded the way they did. Nobody is innocent here and everybody should reflect some and attempt to act like adults.

  10. tfbuckfutter - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Did they criticize the umpire or did the criticize the person?

    I didn’t read the tweets, but if they weren’t questioning his job performance but just his behavior….that seems like a big difference in my opinion.

    • indaburg - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      I read the tweets. It’s hard to draw a line between questioning his job performance or behavior. Price cited Hallion’s cowardice and lack of accountability.

      • flamethrower101 - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:51 PM

        What would be the difference? Aren’t both a violation of the agreement with the MLBPA and wouldn’t both result in a disciplinary action against them (even if they’re totally right about it)

  11. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Any of our older fans chime in here, but has it always been this way? The arguing back and forth between players and umpires? Because this kind of umpire behavior in almost any other sport never happens, and in most would get you fired. You see side judges, in the NFL, just sit there and take the screaming Harbaugh brothers, or Rex Ryan or Bill Belicheck. Soccer/Football officials have to sit there and take it as well, even when accosted by the whole team (looking at you Barcelona…). NBA officials seem to talk a bit more with players and/or coaches, but none of them actively antagonize the players/managers like MLB umpires do. Is this a recent thing?

    • mazblast - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      No, it has always happened, but it used to go without publicity unless a given incident was physically obvious. Now, with all the instant communication, instant analysis, and above all the need of the media to have/cause controversy, everything gets put out there and magnified right away. What used to be dealt with without fanfare is now a cause celebre.

      The egos and the money are so much bigger than years ago that it’s no surprise that things get out of hand so much more frequently.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        As an over 50 fan, I concur. In fact: best comment ever!

  12. thebadguyswon - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    So sick of these fat, arrogant bastards trying to become part of the story.

  13. pacific123ocean - Apr 29, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    The ump said it, and he should be fired for lying!

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:19 PM

      What if you’re lying?

  14. kungfubowler - Apr 29, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    What better way to get the younger viewers than to throw in some little league behavior.

  15. barkleyblows - Apr 29, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Wow, pro athletes crying about officiating/umpiring.. Now that is shocking. You would think these overpaid, steroid using crybabies would be a little more mature.

    Wait…. Must be the roids

  16. nofunleague - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Professional sports teams are not democracies. you are not allowed to publicly criticize officials of any pro sport without paying a fine or being suspended for it. They all know it and twitter being the newest method they will learn the hard way. By the same token umpires should not be allowed to call players liars in public, or criticize players. I would like to see a 12 hour rule where anyone could say anything in twelve hours of the finish of a game with no retribution. They could let off some post game stress with no harm done. It’s pretty hard to go to a post game interview and not be able to say the official blew it when 3 million TV viewers saw it and the announcers mentioned it. Blow of some steam and then it’s over. Beyond that file a grievance.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      Great comment. Thanks.

  17. nofunleague - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    And another point of view. there is absolutely nothing a player can do in a game that will cost an official money, other than injure them so that they miss time. I’m sure they have insurance for that. However any bad call by any official can cost a player money. Preventing a team from going to the playoffs. Calling a batter safe and first and ruing a perfect game. There may have been contract awards or incentives. All sorts of things. And these arrogant slobs parade around as if they were the show. any good official is not noticed in a game. Pure and simple. I hope this grey haired old fart loses some money and maybe a week off to learn not to agitate. I doubt it but it would be nice. Until then officials will win every battle.

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