In last night’s game between the Yankees and the Angels, home plate umpire Laz Diaz lived up to his reputation as being one of the worst umps in the sport. Diaz, who is widely considered one of the most inconsistent umpires in the game, got into a strange back and forth with Yankee catcher Russell Martin that lasted the entire game.
“Laz actually hurt my feelings,” Martin said. “The umpire wouldn’t let me throw the ball back to the pitcher. That’s never happened to me before.” “He said that it was a privilege that I had to earn, for me to throw the ball back. Because we kind of got into it with balls and strikes or whatever.”
“That was strange. I was kind of mystified.” Martin said the initial refusal came in the second inning, then continued all night during the Yankees’ 6-5 win over the Angels. “Even at the end of the game, after I got hit in the neck, I’m like, ‘Can I throw the ball back now?'” Martin said. “He’s still like, ‘No.’ … Unbelievable.”
Martin said he likes throwing the ball back to the pitcher to keep his arm warmed up, especially if there are runners on base during a tight game. Despite repeated requests, Diaz declined to hand the ball to Martin, throwing it back to the mound himself after foul balls.
“He threw it back – the whole game,” Martin said. “I’ve had umpires wanting to throw it back, and then I’ve asked them. I’ve let them know, I like to throw the ball, keep the feel, just for throwing, in case somebody steals.
“He told me I have to earn the privilege. Now, thinking back, I should have shown him the gold Rawlings sign on my glove,” Martin said, referring to the fact that he won a Gold Glove in 2007. The league should investigate the matter, umpires like Diaz shouldn’t be allowed to take out personal vendettas against whoever challenges their calls..
It’s one thing to suck at calling balls and strikes, it’s another thing to act like a six year old behind the plate in a major league game. For more on the story, check out our friends at [MLB.com]