Posted April 29, 2013

MLB should investigate David Price-Tom Hallion incident

David Price, Umpires
David Price, Rays

David Price was not happy after umpire Tom Hallion missed a call during Sunday’s Rays-White Sox game. (AP)

A typical tiff between pitcher and umpire over a ball/strike call took on an extra dimension on Sunday when home plate umpire Tom Hallion and Rays ace David Price exchanged accusations to the media after Sunday’s 8-3 Tampa Bay win over the White Sox. Price subsequently took to Twitter to defend himself at length.

The origin of the dispute was Price’s penultimate pitch of the game, a 1-2 fastball to Dewayne Wise with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning in what was then a tie game. To the naked eye and to Fox Sports Florida’s Foxtrax pitch location graphic, the pitch appeared to catch plenty of the outside of the plate. Hallion, though, called it a ball, which started Price squawking. Price got Wise to ground out on the  next pitch, but while walking toward the dugout Hallion approached him and the two exchanged words, after which Price’s anger increased, the Rays’ dugout started yelling, and Hallion ejected Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.

Here’s what that sequence looked like on the broadcast:

Price claimed after the game that the eruption came after Hallion cursed at him, telling him to “throw the ball over the [explative] plate.”

Hallion denied using the f-bomb, telling Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, “I’ll come right out bluntly and say he’s a liar. . . I’m denying what he said I said pretty strongly. . . . I said, ‘Just throw the ball.’ That’s all I said to him. . . . I’m just telling you, he’s lying. It’s plain and simple.”

That made Price even more irate, and he sent a series of tweets explaining and defending himself. When a fan asked him what Hellickson did to get ejected, Price tweeted back, “Had my back after what everyone in the dugout heard what [sic] the ump said.” When another fan tweeted to him that Hallion said he had lied, Price replied, “Right and the most quiet guy in #mlb got ejected from the game.”

He then went on a brief rant against Hallion with the following tweets:

Tom Hallion does not have a twitter account.

In light of the post-game exchange of words, the accuracy of Hallion’s call, which did appear to have been incorrect, is irrelevant. Umpires are going to miss ball/strike calls, and that pitch had no impact on the outcome of the game or on Price’s performance. I’m not even sure it’s really all that important whether or not Hallion cursed at Price. I mean, it’s not as if these men are strangers to that kind of language. Yes, it would have been unprofessional for Hallion to have done that, particularly given his post-game admission that Price said nothing to him before his comment, but what’s far more significant is that one of these two men is clearly lying about their on-field exchange and publicly assailed the character of the other in support of that lie, and that is far more serious, one that I believe merits a suspension for the guilty party. If I were Major League Baseball, I’d question Wise, White Sox first base coach Daryl Boston, first base umpire Phil Cuzzi and any other non-Rays who were in the vicinity of the on-field exchange to get to the bottom of the incident.

16 comments
wisconsindeathtrip
wisconsindeathtrip

NO THEY SHOULDN"T....it's a WASTE of time, and as JUVENILE as the individuals involved. This has been going on since the origins of baseball. Who cares if both sides lip off at each other? Yaaaaaawn....

robert29
robert29

It looked like a strike to me and that the umpire missed it, which happens some times. I read nothing about a history between the player and ump. If none, there is no need for Price to get upset, no need for the ump to get upset when some Ray points out the missed call and no need to MLB to investigate. Play on. 

SephirothDZX
SephirothDZX

This incident in general points to an issue I have with umpires in MLB. Umpires and players are clearly held to different levels of accountability and there are clearly times where umpires know they can get away with more than what a player or coach can get away with.

MLB umpires need to be held to the same level of -public- accountability that everyone else is held to. That means if an umpire makes a bad call or does something stupid, they need to be publicly punished for it just like how a ballplayer or coach can get publicly suspended or fined. Umpires need to stop being treated like fragile children.

nineequalseight1
nineequalseight1

Whatever Hallion said or didn't said, it was his job to cool things down and control the game, not exacerbate the situation.


OldTig
OldTig

Wait, so the only disagreement is whether the ump said "over the plat" or "over the [expletive] plate"?

For the reaction, you would think he had used a racial epithet. 

sandeflr
sandeflr

an investigation? really? if major league baseball starts to investigate all the dust ups...

It was unfortunate that in this media starved world the ump felt he needed to say something...

more unfortunate that david price had the "bully pulpit " of twitter...

and the most salient comment " this is over"


sandy 

SpenceThompson
SpenceThompson

Mr. Corcoran,

If your thinking of not questioning any of the Rays, because they might just back Price...why would you interview the first base umpire?...Wouldn't he back his fellow ump?


Cool
Cool

Looks to me like ump felt guilty, didn't want to admit it, and made a another bad call by exchanging words with the player.  I don't know that MLB needs to investigate this, but perhaps they should consider this event when choosing umps for playoff games.

michaelq
michaelq

Nothing needs to be investigated.  This is another case of an umpire injecting himself into the story for no reason.  Hallion was way out of line, no matter what he yelled at Price, and should be disciplined.  Price was not showing Hallion up, was not in his face yelling, or anything else that would justify the umpire instigating a confrontation.  

Hallion should have been getting some new balls, taking a sip of water, or doing anything other than walking towards a player who was walking off of the field minding his own business to start a confrontation. You don't like his body language? Well, had Hallion not just blown a call in a close game Price probably wouldn't have the same body language, but even if you hadn't blown the call if you don't like a player's body language its just too damn bad. Just do your job and leave the players and their body language alone.  If Price threw his glove or a ball at you, or into the stands or something, you can object to his actions.  But otherwise, you need to leave body language alone and worry about doing your own damn job.  And if you are going to be concerned about body language, the only person you need to be worrying about is yourself and that stupid exaggerated strike 3 call you do.  NO ONE CAME TO THE GAME TO SEE YOU PERFORM! Just call the damn game.  

RockyFortune
RockyFortune

what needs to be investigated? if two grown men tossed a few expletives each other's way? this story has as much relevancy as the gay basketball players story...

N
N

@wisconsindeathtrip It will always matter so long as one side has the ability to start the argument(as was this case, Hallion went up the first base line to confront Price before Price ever said anything to him), escalate the argument(he cursed at Price, everyone knows it. He's been suspended before for starting arguments with players and then escalating them, in the previous case it was bumping a player during an argument he followed the player up the third base line to start), and then eject the other participant when they don't feel like arguing anymore.

SephirothDZX
SephirothDZX

And what I mean is that in recent years I've seen umpires become more and more the source of conflict instead of being the people who prevent conflict. Incidents like the Price incident where the umpire approaches the player aren't as uncommon as you'd think, and Price wouldn't have been ejected and words wouldnt have been exchanged had the umpire stayed in his place and continued to do his job.

Yeah, umpires don't like to get shown up (because that's why bad calls aren't replayed on jumbo-trons anymore, umpires ego's are too fragile), but at the same time umpires need to stop trying to show up players.

MichaelDeveaux
MichaelDeveaux

@nineequalseight1   I have a problem with umpires who feel like they need to tell a pitcher to throw over the plate because he doesn't like thier body language.  He should of walked the other way instead of going to look for a confrontation.  The umpire, out of all the people on the field, need to be the most level headed persons out there, considering they are not the ones competing for wins and loses.  Truly unprofessional in my opinion.

kingofchapter1
kingofchapter1

@michaelq Agreed. Hallion should really have just taken his own advice and called the f8cking game

lionoah
lionoah

@RockyFortune People would vilify Price if it in fact was the other way around. How many stories do we read about an athlete who has somehow 'disrespected the game', issues some PR apology and have people calling for their head? In this case, Price did nothing at all and the ump needs to be checked. He was out of line and someone needs to tell him that he was wrong, needs to admit to it, and needs to apologize to Price and the Rays. At least. Perhaps a suspension is in order to get him to cool down, what with him calling Price a liar and all.

Someone should have a look into that...