Monday night, the Yankees lost to the Angels and relief pitcher Shawn Kelley was ejected by Laz Diaz -- who is widely known as one of MLB's worst umpires. For me, though, that's ancillary to the matter. The result doesn't matter here and I'm not even worried about who was in the right during this argument, because that is irrelevant.
The problem is we have an umpire -- who is supposed to be an authority figure -- making a fool of himself:
Kelley was talking to Diaz and probably wasn't being nice. I get that. But Kelley wasn't out of control by any stretch of the imagination and, again, Diaz is the supposed authority figure here. The fact that he kept shooing him to the dugout before tossing him tells me it was premeditated that Diaz was going to eject Kelley -- he just wanted to embarrass the player before doing so.
Instead, he embarrassed himself. His antics Monday night weren't just isolated to the Kelley incident above, either:
"When you have a 1-0 count and the next pitch is called 1-1, it changes the whole at-bat. It was the biggest pitch of the game to that point. I mentioned to Laz in a respectful way earlier in the game that I thought a pitch to Kelly Johnson and he gave me the 'Mutombo,'" Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, wagging his finger (via Associated Press). "And I don't appreciate that. I'm not a little kid and I don't need to be scolded."
Girardi was also tossed from the game, but, again, I'm not too worried about that. I'm more worried about the antics of the supposed authority figure here.
I've written several times before in this space that I believe the MLB umpires are the best at their jobs amongst professional sports officials in terms of getting the calls correct. They are also the worst -- and it isn't even remotely close -- at how they handle arguments. For the life of me, I can't picture an official in another sport shooing a player away or giving the Mutumbo finger wag toward a player/coach/manager. Or, to be more general and less specific, screaming the direction of a bench and making himself the center of attention (ahem, Bob Davidson and Angel Hernandez).
The job of an official is to calm a situation, not escalate or even instigate it. All too often we see MLB umpires escalating or instigating. It's terrible and needs to stop.
Oh, and when umpires deserve props, I'm fair enough to give it to them, too.
Just don't expect Laz Diaz to be the receiving end any time soon.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe Laz is shooing me off my computer.