Thursday, September 17, 2009
Updated: September 18, 8:27 AM ET
Umps allege abuse by Angels
BOSTON -- Umpires working the series between the Red Sox and Angels at Fenway Park complained Thursday that Los Angeles coaches were "unprofessional and unbecoming" after two close calls went against them at the end of Wednesday night's loss.
"Their deportment as we left the field, going through the Angels dugout, left a lot to be desired," plate umpire Rick Reed told the Boston Herald. "We filed a report after the game and I would think there will be a coach or two over there that would be regretting his actions today."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia called the accusations "absolutely wrong."
"There was nothing done in a threatening nature," he said after Los Angeles' 4-3 victory on Thursday night. "It was more along the lines of 'You've got to be kidding me.' ... It wasn't even directed at them -- it was more venting in the clubhouse."
Attempts by The Associated Press to reach the umpires for comment before and after Thursday night's game were unsuccessful. A Fenway Park security guard who knocked on the door of their changing room before the game said they were unavailable because they were on a conference call with the commissioner's office; after the game, a reporter's request for an interview was similarly declined.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Major League Baseball was looking into it. Mike Port, baseball's vice president for umpires, did not return a call seeking comment.
"The World Umpires Association conducts itself in a professional manner and we expect everyone in and around major league baseball to do the same," union spokesman Lamell McMorris said. "We recognize that in the heat of competition folks get heated up and make mistakes. However, in this instance, we certainly look to Major League Baseball to address this matter in a manner that makes everything right."
The Angels were visibly angry in the ninth inning of Wednesday night's 9-8 loss when two calls went against them in what turned out to be a winning rally by the Red Sox.
With two outs, the bases loaded and the Angels leading 8-7, pinch-hitter Nick Green quickly fell behind 0-2 to closer Brian Fuentes and offered at the third pitch. But first base umpire Jeff Kellogg ruled he did not go around, and Green stayed in the box.
Green then fouled off three pitches before taking three balls to walk in the tying run. The last was a knee-high fastball that had catcher Mike Napoli jumping out of his crouch in anticipation of a strikeout.
"What was the count at the end, 3-4 to Green?" Scioscia said sarcastically on Wednesday. "I thought we had him a couple of times. I was surprised. It's a good umpiring crew and I think we really feel strongly they missed a couple times we had Green struck out. Unfortunately, that's the focal point of the game and it didn't go our way."
Because of Fenway's unusual layout, the umpires have to walk through the visiting clubhouse to get to their own room. When they did, several Angels coaches continued jawing at them.
"It's one of the nuances here," Scioscia said after Wednesday's game. "You've got to respect their space and that's what we're doing. Our guys are upset, no doubt about it."
But Reed questioned whether Scioscia made that much of an effort to cool things down.
"Mike made an attempt to quiet his coaches down but he also made a comment that I thought incited the situation," he said in a story on the Herald's Web site. "I'm disappointed in the coaches. Coaches are usually the guys who try to stop any kind of friction that develops in the course of a game and afterward. But they were initiating last night and I'm not pleased in the way they said things or in their presentation. And I think Major League Baseball has been notified and probably something will become of it, I don't know what."
Scioscia angrily denied he had inflamed the situation.
"In fact, the umpire Mark Wegner came back to interact with one of our coaches," Scioscia said Thursday night. "A lesson in professionalism needs to be discussed there."
Fuentes said after Wednesday's game that umpires were too "timid" or "scared" to make calls against the home team in Fenway, where Boston has the best record in the majors and a 542-game sellout streak.
"Especially here and some other places, they seem timid to make calls," Fuentes said. "I've heard it from other guys that come in here and say that. That's either because it's a mistake, or they're scared."
On Thursday, Fuentes said: "I don't think I said anything insulting to them or take anything to a personal level. [It's] just emotions on the field and umpires get caught up emotionally into the game in the same way we do."