Anyone who watches baseball knows that certain umpires have certain tendencies. Some guys are animated about called third strikes whereas others are probably more excited about standing in line at a wake than they are about ringing a hitter up. After foul balls, some umpires like to throw a new ball to the pitcher and others would prefer the catcher to do it. MLB umpire Laz Diaz enjoys making the throws himself, whether Russell Martin likes it or not.
According to MLB.com’s Bombers Beat blog, Martin said Diaz would not allow him to throw new baseballs back to the mound during Wednesday night’s 6-5 win over the Angels. The Yankees catcher likes to throw the ball back as much as possible to keep his arm loose, but Diaz told him he has to “earn the privilege.” Apparently he wasn’t joking.
“At the end of the game, after I got hit in the neck (by a foul tip), I was like, ‘Can I throw the ball back now?'” Martin said. “He was like, still, ‘No.’ I was like, ‘You’re such a (jerk).’ Like, for real, unbelievable.”
Martin said he and Diaz argued about balls and strikes earlier in the game, so he wondered if Diaz was trying to bait him into saying something that could justify an ejection.
“I even told him, when there’s guys on base, I like to keep my arm loose,” Martin explained. “(He said,) ‘I’m not letting you throw a ball back.’ That’s pretty strange to me.”
Assuming Martin is telling the whole story, that seems completely uncalled for. I think an umpire wanting to get involved with the game by throwing balls back to the mound is great, but the player should be given the option if it helps keep his arm loose. Between this and the horrible call he made that cost the A’s a few weeks ago, Diaz is frustrating a number of players in the early part of the season.
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