SAN DIEGO (AP) — Major League Baseball is telling managers to cool it on arguing balls and strikes, and warning them not to rely on replay help to bolster their beefs.
MLB executive Joe Torre sent a memo Friday to managers, general managers and assistant general managers that said: “This highly inappropriate conduct is detrimental to the game and must stop immediately.”
The memo was obtained Saturday by The Associated Press.
“I’m still going to react to what I see in front of me,” Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Saturday night.
Torre, a Hall of Fame manager and former NL MVP, said skippers are increasingly relying on technology from the clubhouse or video room to argue from the dugout. Every pitch and play is monitored by teams in case they want to challenge for a replay review.
He called that “an express violation of the Replay Regulations, which state that ‘on-field personnel in the dugout may not discuss any issue with individuals in their video review room using the dugout phone other than whether to challenge a play subject to video replay review.’”
“Although disagreements over ball and strike calls are natural, the prevalence of manager ejections simply cannot continue,” Torre wrote. “This conduct not only delays the game, but it also has the propensity to undermine the integrity of the umpires on the field.”
Ausmus was ejected for arguing balls and strikes and covered home plate with a sweat shirt earlier this season, and Boston manager John Farrell was tossed during an animated dispute alongside Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.
Earlier this month, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was ejected while arguing from the dugout.
On Friday night, Oakland manager Bob Melvin and San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy got tossed for arguing balls and strikes along with players on their respective teams. Cincinnati manager Bryan Price was ejected Saturday on a dispute about a foul ball.
Torre concluded by advising that any manager or coach ejected for arguing balls and strikes “hereafter will be disciplined, including at least a fine.”
“Joe’s the boss, so I guess we’d better cool it,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “There’s just some days you can’t stand over there and not say something. They’re always making additions, and I get speeding the game up and sometimes that sort of thing slows it down, so it’ll take a little while to walk through that and see exactly how to play it. But you can’t take the emotion out of the game. Joe knows that as well as everybody, but I understand where he’s coming from.”
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said Torre’s the memo is “a very, very good reminder — a very strong reminder — that you’re going to get fined or whatever’s going to happen if you choose that route. That’s fair.”
“One of the great things about having him in this position (is) he’s been in the dugout and he is where he is. I don’t know what that lens looks like where he is, but I understand I definitely don’t try and do his job,” Hurdle said before the Pirates played at Washington on Sunday.
“I listen to him and I try to honor everything that he throws out there. And I think he can respect also the feelings you have to have in the dugout if you feel things aren’t working out the way that you’d want them to work out or you’re not getting calls or you’re on the short end of calls sometimes. He just let us know if you go that route what’s going to happen,” he said.
AP freelance writer Dave Hogg in Detroit and AP Sports Writers R.B. Fallstrom in St. Louis and Stephen Whyno in Washington contributed to this report.
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