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#pounditFriday, August 12, 2022

Umpire Laz Diaz goes after ex-Red Sox player over Instagram

Laz Diaz umpiring a game

Jul 15, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Home plate umpire Laz Diaz (63) reacts in the first inning of a game between the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

MLB umpire Laz Diaz seemingly got a bit personal with former Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks in a recent social media post.

Middlebrooks, who now does TV work for the Red Sox, discussed a perceived lack of umpire accountability on his “Wake and Rake Podcast.” Middlebrooks suggested offering incentives to improve the standard of umpiring. Middlebrooks pointed out that MLB players who struggle get sent to the minors, but umpires are not forced to answer for bad performances and have no incentive to improve.

Middlebrooks suggested rewarding the best umpires with higher pay and the best playoff assignments to incentivize good performances.

An Instagram account took notice of Middlebrooks’ comments and left a social media comment that got needlessly personal. The account itself (@lazd17) was private as of Wednesday.

“You are not an umpire & you do not know what goes on in the umpire world of life!!” Diaz wrote as shown in a screenshot posted by the podcast’s Twitter account. “You as a player was supposed to be an outright superstar for Boston & you didn’t live up to that!! So it’s the umpire’s fault … Be real!!!”

Middlebrooks responded by sarcastically calling Diaz “very professional” and criticizing the umpire for his post.

Middlebrooks never mentioned Diaz by name and openly acknowledged how tough a job umpires have. For Diaz to come into his comments and essentially call Middlebrooks a draft bust seems really uncalled for. Middlebrooks is not a current player so accusations of bias aren’t really in play here, but Diaz still looks overly sensitive and defensive.

Diaz might not be the right umpire to take on this argument. If Middlebrooks wants to point to some bad calls he has made, he doesn’t have to go back very far.

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