The Major League Baseball Umpires Association criticized the one-game suspension of San Diego shortstop Manny Machado, calling it “a slap in the face” and “a disgrace to the game.”
Machado was suspended for “aggressively arguing and making contact with” plate umpire Bill Welke as he disputed a called third strike in Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rockies.
The association, in a post on its Facebook page on Tuesday, said the punishment isn’t harsh enough.
“One game..one single game. What kind of precedent is that setting? It is NOT okay to throw a temper tantrum and physically touch someone of authority, just because you don’t agree. Violence in all workplaces is not tolerated. Period,” the group’s statement read, in part.
Major League Baseball also fined Machado an undisclosed amount for the incident.
The suspension was to be served Monday night, with the Padres hosting the Milwaukee Brewers, but it was delayed after Machado chose to appeal. He told reporters before the game he didn’t believe he made contact with Welke, who ejected Machado in the top of the fifth inning of the game won by Colorado, 14-8.
“I didn’t touch him. I didn’t think I touched him. Video says it all,” Machado said of the encounter on Monday. “I think we’ve got a good case. I don’t think anyone’s ever gotten suspended a game for arguing balls and strikes. I think that’s a little too much, a little unjustified, but there’s a process to this, and we’re going to go through it.”
Machado argued with Welke after the umpire called a third strike on a pitch that was narrowly outside. Machado responded by throwing his helmet to the ground, walking toward the umpire, yelling animatedly in Welke’s face and then throwing his bat to the backstop.
“A one game suspension for this type of behavior is a slap in the face of all umpires and a disgrace to the game itself,” the umpires association’s post continued. “Physical contact simply cannot be tolerated, and the penalties need to be swift and harsh.”
The Padres signed Machado, 26, to a 10-year, $300 million contract during spring training. The four-time All-Star is hitting .264 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs in 71 games.
–Field Level Media