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, in which he called him a bad umpire who "just needs to go away." "The Office of the Commissioner's lenient treatment to abusive player behavior sends the wrong message. It's open season on umpires, and that's bad for the game," the World Umpires Association said. "Enough is enough. Umpires will wear the wristbands until our concerns are taken seriously." Said Kinsler: "I really don't think too deeply into it. I hope they wear the white wristbands for the rest of their careers. I don't care. I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, that's their problem." MLB had no comment, reports the AP.
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. "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. On Thursday, 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," Manfred said. "I see the umpire thing differently. Umpires have to be beyond reproach on the topic of impartiality." (Read more Major League Baseball stories.)