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An umpire touched Torii Hunter’s face and Major League Baseball is looking into it

May 13, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

So this happened last night:

source: AP

At first I assumed it was either an impromptu dental exam or Torii Hunter and umpire Paul Nauert reenacting the famous “My sister” [slap] “My daughter” [slap] scene from “Chinatown,” but that apparently was not the case. Rather, Hunter was jawing at Orioles pitcher Bud Norris after Norris hit him n the ribs and Nauert was trying to calm Hunter down. Hunter reacted negatively when it happened, but he’s cool about it now though:

“That’s my guy,” Hunter told The Detroit News of Nauert. “He was trying to cover my mouth. I’ve known him too long [to be upset]. He was just saying to me, ‘C’mon, T. You’re way better than that.’ And he’s right.

“I apologize to the fans for my reaction.”

MLB is investigating because it sorta has to given that it has rules about players touching umpires, but I’d expect nothing to come of this given the nature of the situation and Hunter not having any objections.

  1. dowhatifeellike - May 13, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    The hand is important.

  2. darthicarus - May 13, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Reading reactions to this on Twitter last night I assumed the ump slapped Torii with some force based on the outrage. Watching the video later I didn’t think it was that big of a deal especially hearing Torii’s comments on the situation.

    • shaggylocks - May 13, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      Video? Where’d you see video? Man, I’ve looked all over for video of this and can’t find it.

      • historiophiliac - May 13, 2014 at 2:53 PM

  3. steve7921 - May 13, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    It doesn’t matter what Torii or Nauert say about the “innocence” etc. If Torii had touched Nauert, no matter the reason he would be facing a suspension and therefore, Nauert should face the same consequences!

  4. pwshrugged - May 13, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    This is a total non-issue. I get the rules about players touching umps, but as far as I know, there’s no set rule about umps touching players. If it were a more physical confrontation, that’d be different, but this is clearly chummy. Torii doesn’t mind now, and he didn’t mind last night; if anything, Torii makes them sound like buddies, insofar as much as umpires and players can be buddy-buddy.. The face-touching was totally innocent, just one guy looking out for another. I thought it was kind of nice, honestly, seeing that kind of obviously friendliness between a veteran player and ump.

  5. twinfan24 - May 13, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Even if Torii and the ump are buddies, that shouldn’t happen on the field and would set a poor precedent if at least some minor penalty isn’t given to the ump, whether a fine or suspension, for even a couple of games. This wasn’t a problem, but there are a lot of bad umps that do not need to be told it is okay to lay hands on a player.

    • historiophiliac - May 13, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      I agree — because the next time might not be so benign. I was kind of startled when it happened and nervous that it might go badly. If the player hadn’t been Torii, it might have. Also, really NOT good for the white ump to be condescending or physical with the “angry black man.” Who touched Norris to calm him down? Heck, they even let him stew in the dugout instead of leaving. Torii was not the problem, but he got the focus — and that’s not cool. Frankly, though, I don’t think any ump should be touching players in the face. Can you imagine if that was Pierzynski?

      • skids003 - May 13, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        I thought we were all equals.

      • historiophiliac - May 13, 2014 at 1:50 PM


      • stlouis1baseball - May 13, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        “Also, really NOT good for the white ump to be condescending or physical with the “angry black man.””

        Wow. Just…wow.

      • historiophiliac - May 13, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        How did I know you were going to freak out about that?

      • stlouis1baseball - May 13, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        Because you dig sensationalizing things?

        Either way…nice avatar. I like the old school logo.

      • historiophiliac - May 13, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        Because you’re an ostrich who refuses to see things?

        Where’s your woodpecker avatar?

      • stlouis1baseball - May 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        Lol! Sure…I see all kinds of things (when there are things to actually see). Your ostrich comment did make me laugh though. We could do this all day. You know that right?

        I need to get the avatar back. I will work on it.

      • historiophiliac - May 13, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        Yup. You know I’m going to keep coming back with it.

        /shadow boxes

  6. packfan0492 - May 13, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Next time close use closed fist.

    • historiophiliac - May 13, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      No, no. Go back to PFT.

  7. muttonmark - May 13, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    OMG, what has happened to this world…you mean to tell me that this is an issue???? I sure hope that nobody hi-fives each other, because it may either offend someone, or make a hostile environment for others. And forget about the classic baseball tap on the butt. I can’t believe that hasn’t been banned yet. RELAX … I hope nothing happens to either party.

    • historiophiliac - May 13, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      If you can’t tell the difference between a high five and touching someone in a heated moment, I foresee some difficult situations in your future. Congratulations and physical contact during a heated moment are such very different things.

    • skids003 - May 13, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      I agree, sure hope it doesn’t offend someone, the PC Police will be out in force.

    • shaggylocks - May 13, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      Am man, I LOVE a good idiotic slippery slope argument! But c’mon, man, that’s it? No more examples? Here, lemme help you out: “What next, are we going to outlaw shaking hands?????????? Better not dog pile after a walk off homer, you might offend someone and the PC Police will be taking away our computers!!!!!!!”

      • historiophiliac - May 13, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        What about the effrontery of shoving a *pie* in your face????

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 13, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    “…but as far as I know, there’s no set rule about umps touching players. ”

    This is approximately 3/4 of little league umpire training.

  9. moogro - May 13, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    “Smooth. You’ve got such a clean, close shave!”

    • timmmah10 - May 13, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      “damn bro, you use Gillette or what?”

      • Dr. Dodger - May 13, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        “And how many blades do you use?”

      • DJ MC - May 13, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Don’t you watch MLB Network? Barbasol, baby!

  10. RoyHobbs39 - May 13, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    Nauert: “Torii, look at me. You know that I love you. You are my guy.”

    Hunter: “No, Paul. You are my guy.”

  11. yahmule - May 13, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    I recognize that look on Torii’s face. He was in the middle of some good trash talk.

  12. lukedunphysscienceproject - May 14, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Little late to the party here, but I finally saw the video late last night. While I probably agree that you have to draw the line against physical contact in heated situations, and I would not object too strenuously if there was discipline here, the context is fairly obvious.

    The situation between Nauert and Hunter is NOT heated. Hunter is beefing with another player. Nauert is trying to get Hunter to focus his attention away from the player and onto him to try and calm the situation down. He is trying to make eye contact with Hunter, and using his fingers to move Hunter’s face so that he will look at him. Nauert is not making some sort of angry gesture that results in contact.

    Again, if you want to say “a rule’s a rule”, I guess I can’t argue with you. But I think I am in the camp that kind of despises rules that don’t allow for rational people to apply better judgement.

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