David Price, umpire Tom Hallion at odds after Hellickson ejection
Rays ace David Price and home-plate umpire Tom Hallion are at odds over something that happened Sunday in Chicago.
When Price was departing the field after his seventh and final inning pitched, there was an exchange that resulted in an ejection, but it wasn't Price. It was fellow Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. Why? Here's what Price had to say.
Price said that Hallion said, "Throw the ball over the f****** plate." Price further says that he did nothing to provoke this. MLB.com has posted video of the reactions from several of the Rays. Here it is -- and it's absolutely worth watching if for no other reason than for manager Joe Maddon's sarcasm about Hellickson:
Hallion: "I'll come right out bluntly and say he's a liar."
Hallion further said that he only said, "just throw the ball." Multiple players on the Rays backed up Price's story to reporters, however, and Price notes that the entire dugout "erupted" on Hallion -- during which Hellickson was run -- which is unlikely to happen for "just throw the ball."
So, what prompted Hallion to say anything to Price in the first place? Brace yourself, because this is a joke.
Umpire Hallion admits #Rays Price didn't say anything to him but "certainly gave enough body language to insinuate that he was pissed off.''— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 28, 2013
Oh, OK. So the umpires judge whether players are angry with them via body language and telepathy now. And, if even a trace of anger is sensed, it's go time. I get it.
Seriously, though, this is embarrassing for an umpire. I have pointed out in the past that MLB umpires are the only officials in any sport who actively engage the players and managers/coaches in arguments. Do you ever see an NFL official pursue a screaming match with a head coach? But in Major League Baseball, there are more than a handful of problem children who not only engage in shouting matches but seem to actively seek them out.
Even if someone is out of control -- as Price clearly was not, even according to Hallion -- how about simply ejecting that person and ignoring any tirade? That's the adult way to handle childish behavior. In this case, Hellickson may well have been out of control, but it sure appears that Hallion instigated the issue. That, again, is embarrassing for an umpire to be an instigator.
The role of sports officials when it comes to arguments or fights is to stop them, not start them.
While we're here, here's a rule that I believe all officials in any sport need to follow: Remain anonymous. MLB umpires far too often violate this principle.
It's pretty simple. The people in the crowd and watching on TV and/or the Internet are watching to see the players. Not the umpires.
Stay out of the spotlight, stop ripping off your mask to yell at people, shut up and do your job, guys. That's what you are paid to do.