Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland was predictably upset after his club fell to the Red Sox on Monday. That he had watched most of the game from the clubhouse -- since he was ejected in the third inning for arguing with the umpire -- hardly seemed to dull his anger.
The trouble began when Tigers pitcher Doug Fister appeared to strike out Mike Aviles on a foul tip to end the second inning. But home plate umpire Jeff Nelson ruled that catcher Gerald Laird didn't hold onto the ball and that it hit the dirt. First base ump Bill Welke confirmed Nelson's call. The veteran manager argued with both umpires until they threw him out of the game.
The replay clearly showed that Leyland was correct: Laird did catch the foul tip, meaning that Aviles should have been out. Given a second chance, Aviles hit a long RBI single and sparked a three-run Red Sox rally.
WATCH: Replay Of Contested Play
"There should not have been a second-inning rally. There were three outs," Leyland said after the 7-4 loss. "I've been in the game a long time and when the catcher catches the ball and it's strike three, you call the guy out. It's that simple isn't it?"
Instead of merely lashing out at the umpire, the Detroit manager called on the the media to write about the blown call, suggesting that everybody in the room knew the umpires got it wrong.
"You guys need to write something and hold people accountable. You know what? We're all accountable in this business. All of us are accountable. And when I say all of us, I mean everybody that's involved in the game needs to be held accountable. Okay. That's exactly what needs to be done. There should not have been a rally in that inning. Now anybody who saw that, have the nerve to write what you saw and say it. Because I'm not going to sit here and rip umpires. But you saw what you saw, clearly saw what you saw. I just saw it for the tenth time, clearly saw what you saw, write it and say something once in a while. Have the nerve to say something."
Major League Baseball has already started holding umps accountable, though in small doses.
Earlier in May, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was ejected for arguing with plate umpire Bob Davidson. The altercation escalated to profanities and both received one-game suspensions. The league said Davidson was suspended for "repeated violations" of how umpires are supposed to handle certain situations.
As for the media calling out umpires' mistakes, look no further than just days before the Manuel-Davidson incident when Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie flipped out plate umpire Bill Miller over two called strikes. Several in the media wrote that both pitches were way outside the strike zone and that Miller was way out of line.
Perhaps Major League Baseball will take further (and necessary) actions.
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