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#pounditThursday, February 2, 2023

MLB umpires wearing white wristbands to protest ‘escalating attacks’

Major League umpires are making a statement against the commissioner’s office by wearing white wristbands during games.

According to a statement issued by the World Umpires Association, the issue stems from the league’s response to recent criticism from Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler. Kinsler criticized umpire Angel Hernandez harshly but was only fined for his public comments, which rubbed Hernandez’s fellow umpires the wrong way.

The response is to wear white wristbands in response to “escalating attacks” on umpires until the commissioner addresses their concerns.

Here’s a look at Joe West wearing a wristband:

And a statement from the WUA:

Many would argue that umpires get off fairly easily. They have free reign to discipline players as they see fit during games, and if they are held accountable for bad calls or overreactions, it is not done so publicly, giving the public illusion that they are, essentially, untouchable. It is fair for the umpires to argue that Kinsler’s punishment was lenient, particularly in light of the fact that one umpire actually was suspended for being publicly critical of a player. That said, the overall complaint — that umpires are unfairly and overly criticized — seems a bit oversensitive, as there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of evidence that umps are facing any more heat than they always have. The criticisms of Hernandez, in particular, are not new — and are often warranted.


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