Major League Baseball umpires wore white wristbands during games Saturday, protesting "abusive player behavior" after Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez.
The World Umpires Association announced the action, saying the union strongly objected to the response by the commissioner's office. Kinsler said this week that Hernandez was a bad umpire and "just needs to go away."
"The Office of the Commissioner's lenient treatment to abusive player behavior sends the wrong message to players and managers. It's open season on umpires, and that's bad for the game," the WUA said.
"Enough is enough. Umpires will wear the wristbands until our concerns are taken seriously," the union said.
MLB said it had no comment on the union's statement.
Crew chiefs Joe West, Gerry Davis and Bill Miller wore the wristbands in the first games of the day. Hernandez wore one for the Arizona-Twins game.
Miller worked at second base during the Dodgers-Tigers game at Comerica Park, right near Kinsler.
"He's not the focus of the situation. That's just part of the puzzle," Miller said. "We've have had several instances where umpires have been called out or challenged. Ejections seem to be up, and we just feel like we need to band together and let people know that we are human beings."
Most every full-time MLB umpire wore a wristband. Triple-A call-up umps didn't in the early games.
"That's certainly their right to do that. I think the country's in a mood to protest right now. That's pretty clear," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said before the Brewers played at Colorado.
"The umpires do get the brunt of it sometimes. But I also think they're kind of trained to understand that," he said.
West, the president of the umpires' union, declined comment after working home plate at Wrigley Field in the Cubs' 4-3 win over Toronto. In the fourth inning, West called strike three on Chicago's Jon Jay — Jay yelled in frustration as he walked away from the plate.
West is the most senior umpire in the majors. Earlier this month, he was suspended three games by MLB for comments he made in a newspaper story about Texas star Adrian Beltre being the biggest complainer in the game. West said he was joking, and Beltre said he knew the umpire was kidding.
On Thursday, at the owners' meeting in Chicago, Commissioner Rob Manfred drew a distinction on remarks by players and umpires.
"It is not unusual after a very competitive event for a player to say something that we don't think is helpful over the long term. We have always dealt with those by player discipline, fines. That's the ordinary course," Manfred said.
"I see the umpire thing differently. Umpires have to be beyond reproach on the topic of impartiality. That's why there are really specific rules in the umpire basic agreement about public comment," he said.
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5:15 p.m.: This article has been updated with news of the umpires protest against what its union says is escalating abusive player behavior.