Major League Baseball umpires ended their one-day protest against alleged mistreatment after the commissioner’s office agreed to meet with them.
The World Umpires Association, which represents umpires, tweeted that Commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with union reps after several umpires wore white wristbands during Saturday’s games to show support for Angel Hernandez, who was criticized by Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler.
“We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed,” the union tweeted.
Umpire Joe West, one of the protesting umpires working Saturday’s game at Wrigley Field, declined to comment, but confirmed umpires would not wear the wristbands on Sunday.
A union representative did not return phone calls.
The protest stems from an incident in which Kinsler told reporters Hernandez “needs to find another job” and “just needs to go away.” Kinsler was fined by MLB, but not suspended. West was recently suspended three games for naming Adrian Beltre as one of the biggest “complainers” in baseball during a USA Today interview.
The umpires believe a double standard exists if West can suspended while Kinsler received only a fine. A press release on Saturday from the umpires said the “verbal attack on Angel denigrated the entire MLB umpiring staff and is unacceptable,” and Kinsler received “lenient treatment” in being fined and not suspended. It added that “abusive player behavior” means “it’s ‘open season’ on umpires, and that’s bad for the game.”
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said the protest was “petty” and “to single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.” Ausmus called the fine “the biggest I’ve ever seen,” but declined to say how much it was. Kinsler said “if they take offense to (his comments) that that’s their problem.”
Umpire Bill Miller said after the Tigers-Dodgers game Saturday that Kinsler was “not the focus of the situation” and that there have been “several instances where umpires have been called out of challenged” by players and managers.
“Ejections seem to be up, and we just feel like we need to band together and let people know that we are human beings,” Miller said.
The release did not give another example of “abusive player behavior,” and Miller did not cite any examples.