Methinks thou didst protest not enough

So much for that protest. Major league umpires took to white wristbands last Saturday, protesting Tigers infielder Ian Kinsler’s public rip of umpire Angel Hernandez, proclaiming they’d wear the white bands until baseball government addressed if not cracked down on verbal abuse from players. The protest lasted all of one day. The core issues won’t go away that fast.

Umpire James Hoye wearing the white wristband his colleagues used to protest "escalating verbal attacks" going unpunished---unaware or unconcerned that Ian Kinsler was fined five figures for criticising Angel Hernandez in the press.

Umpire James Hoye wearing the white wristband his colleagues used to protest “escalating verbal attacks” going unpunished—unaware or unconcerned that Ian Kinsler was fined five figures for criticising Angel Hernandez in the press.

Ken Kaiser, RIP: Only fools rush out

"He said he wanted to punch me. I said, 'Go ahead, you midget, you'll hit my knee'."---Ken Kaiser (right), on a debate, shall we say, with Earl Weaver (left).

“He said he wanted to punch me. I said, ‘Go ahead, you midget, you’ll hit my knee’.”—Ken Kaiser (right), on a debate, shall we say, with Earl Weaver (left).

The late umpire/raconteur Ron Luciano considered Ken Kaiser, who died today after a long battle with diabetes, a friend and protege who came up and did things the hard way. Unfortunately, Kaiser’s career ended the same way, when he tied his dinghy to the leaky ship of the old Major League Umpires Association, and its executive director Richie Phillips sank it.

Laugh, clowns, laugh

West, docked three for a wisecrack about Adrian Beltre.

West, docked three for a wisecrack about Adrian Beltre.

In 1999, umpire Tom Hallion got himself a three-day suspension when he bumped inadvertently into Rockies catcher Jeff Reed during a beef with pitcher Mike DeJean. The Major League Umpires Association, a month before the infamous mass resignation that torpedoed it, was outraged, but “[n]ot as outraged as they’d be,” the Society for American Baseball Research’s Doug Pappas wrote, “if a player wasn’t suspended for bumping an ump.”

One of the umps among the mass resigners (he was reinstated in due course in a 2004 settlement), Hallion swore he wasn’t trying to bump Reed. Players who inadvertently bump the umps swear likewise and still pony up fines and serve suspensions.