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Umpire Bob Davidson suspended one game for poor ‘situation handling’

Big League Stew

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For those who are breathing fire and out for blood regarding Major League Baseball umpires who don't perform, and get out of line, here's some red meat, courtesy of MLB's home office:

Umpire Bob Davidson has received a one-game suspension for his repeated violations of the Office of the Commissioner's standards for situation handling, Major League Baseball announced today.

(The what? "The Office of the Commissioner's standards for ... situation handling"? Is that also the standard by which the trophy for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence is handed out?)

The suspension starts on Friday night, when Davidson's crew (including a call-up from the minors to replace Davidson) will work the opener of the Minnesota Twins-Milwaukee Brewers series at Miller Park.

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As the Unified Sycophantic Defenders of Brett Lawrie would tell you, it's about time baseball did something about some of these umpires. I agree with them on that. No, Davidson was not the ump when Toronto's Lawrie threw down his helmet (that was Bill Miller). But Davidson did mess up the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this week when he inadvertently obstructed the attempt of catcher Brian Schneider to reach a dropped third strike, then yelled at Manuel on the bench because he understandably complained. Manuel was suspended as well for his part in the Davidson argument.

But that's Davidson's act: He messes up and then acts untouchable. It turns out he's not.

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Also known as "Balkin' Bob" for his propensity to call balks no other umpire would, Davidson is mostly known for his short temper and poor attitude among players. He's the kind of umpire who thinks fans pay admission to watch him.

[Related: Miami Marlins soar in latest MLB power rankings]

He gets lots of complaints. Look here, too. Or over here. Only Joe West, seemingly, is disliked more among umpires.

This is the first time MLB suspended an ump since Brian Runge was docked a game in 2008. The previous September, Mike Winters was suspended for the rest of the season after goading Milton Bradley into an argument. Before that, it was 2003 when John Hirschbeck and Bruce Froemming were suspended (in unrelated events) for off-the-field comments. There's some doubt that Froemming (now retired) ever served his suspension for making anti-Semitic remarks.

So, MLB will act. It just seems it does so rarely. And suspending umpires for attitude problems or the inability to call strikes properly isn't the way, long-term, to fix the sport's officiating problems. That comes in the hiring and training stages of the men, and in the use of technology during the game. Discipline and computers, not just one or the other.

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