B.J. Upton took a pitch low in the strike zone for strike three Friday night during as the Atlanta Braves were in the middle of losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates. On paper, it looked like he argued and umpire Sam Holbrook threw him out.
Instead, Upton had his say on his opinion of the call, and as he was turning back to the dugout, Holbrook (yes, the one who blew the call in last year's Wild Card game) shooed him off. That set Upton off.
"We had our disagreements about the pitch," Upton said on braves.com. "Obviously I didn't agree with it. He thought it was a strike. I can live with that. But the shooing away part — no, I'm a grown man. You just don't do that."
And the normally mild-mannered Fredi Gonzalez agreed with him.
"I can sympathize with B.J. on that," Gonzalez said. "I think if the matter would have been handled different, B.J. might have stayed in the game. I didn't think the pitch was that bad of a pitch. But when B.J. comes back and asks something, the way he got waved off probably ticked him off. They didn't give me a chance to get out there and try to keep him in the game."
This is just the latest episode in what we'll call umpire entrapment. Too many umps (including Cowboy Joe West) think they're above the game and will bait players into a confrontation or into an extended confrontation like Upton's.
Major League Baseball must take action to ensure that this stops happening. There's no reason for it to ever happen.
See video of the altercation here.
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