Friday, August 18, 2017

Fined - Kinsler Not Suspended for Hernandez Comments

Ian Kinsler will not be suspended for his Angel Hernandez rant, MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre's department failing to issue a statement of suspension for Kinsler's comments. According to Tigers beat reporter Jason Beck, MLB instead issued Kinsler an undisclosed fine for comments to the press that included such barbs as "[Hernandez is] messing with baseball games, blatantly" and "He needs to find another job. He really does. He's just that bad."
Related PostMLB Ejections 134-35 - Angel Hernandez (1-2; DET x2) (8/14/17).

Kinsler will not be suspended for his actions.
Although MLB's Collective Bargaining Agreement with the MLB Players Association states that the Commissioner or Chief Baseball Officer may suspend a player, without pay, for "making public statements that question the integrity of the game, the umpires, the Commissioner and/or other Commissioner’s Office personnel," Beck reported that the League has opted to forgo such disciplinary action and instead issue a fine.

By contrast, here are a few incidents that did result in player suspensions: In June 2017, Torre suspended Yasiel Puig one game for an obscene gesture, while Oakland's Matt Joyce received a two-game suspension earlier in August for anti-gay comments directed toward a spectator in Anaheim.

Ex-Manager, MLB's Joe Torre.
MLB's decision not to suspend Kinsler for his comments about Hernandez follows Hernandez's lawsuit against Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred's office, filed on July 3, alleging racial discrimination. The suit also states, multiple times, Hernandez's belief that Joe Torre has perpetuated a personal feud with Hernandez, and that Torre's personal animus toward Hernandez is unfairly affecting MLB's business operation as relates to its handling of matters concerning Hernandez.

Earlier in August, Commissioner Rob Manfred issued umpire Joe West a three-game suspension for comments West had made in June about Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre that Manfred felt created an "appearance of lack of impartiality." Manfred stated that he opted to suspend West two-months after the fact for violation of the umpires' Basic Agreement with MLB, the text of which is not public.
Related PostJoe West Suspended 3 Games for Beltre Comment (8/8/17).

Adrian Beltre: "I didn't think it was a big deal."
Following MLB's suspension of West, the World Umpires Association issued a statement in which it disagreed with the decision to punish Joe West "simply for quotes in media," which the WUA contended was a joking interaction between an umpire and player. In his own comments to the media, Beltre said he felt West's comments were in jest and did not believe the suspension was appropriate: "I don’t think the suspension was necessary, I know he was kidding. I didn’t think it was a big deal. It’s sad that it happened. I guess it was just some miscommunication." According to Beltre, he and West had already laughed it out during a series in Texas prior to the All-Star Break, a month before West drew the suspension.

Following Kinsler's comments about Hernandez, the WUA issued a statement in support of Hernandez: "The World Umpires Association stands behind Angel Hernandez! Angel has dedicated his career to the game. His integrity [was] wrongly impugned. A verbal attack on Angel Hernandez impugns the integrity of all umpires. We all stand by Angel!"

For illustration, here are the comments Kinsler was not suspended for:
I’m surprised at how bad an umpire [Hernandez] is. I don’t know how, for as many years he’s been in the league, that he can be that bad. He needs to reevaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line. If I get fined for saying the truth, then so be it. He’s messing with baseball games, blatantly. He’s changing the game. He needs to find another job. He really does. He's just that bad. I’m not mad at him. He just needs to go away...What is he doing on the field? What is he doing out there? It’s pretty obvious he needs to stop ruining baseball games.
And here are West's comments, for which MLB's senior-most umpire drew a three-game suspension:
[The biggest whiner has] got to be Adrian Beltre. Every pitch you call that’s a strike, he says, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” I had a game with him recently and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, “That ball is outside.” I told him, “You may be a great ballplayer, but you’re the worst umpire in the league. You stink.”
Did MLB get it right with the Kinsler non-suspension? You make the call.


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