It’s Rockies vs. Umpires — Let’s Start The Feud!

For Giants fans such as myself, Monday’s 14-inning frustration-fest with the Rockies was about as entertaining as watching workmen build a gallows in the center of town. Ryan Spilborghs’ walk-off grand slam was them testing the trap door. Bam! Isn’t anyone going to ask me if I have any last words? Well, as if that day needed any more drama, now comes word that Rockies players and umpires were feuding all through the game, and both factions may be in for disciplinary action.

Yes, I said players and umpires may be suspended by MLB dean of discipline Bob Watson, who is speaking to all parties involved before bringing down the terrible ruler of justice. Chief among the combatants, as I understand it, are umpire Bill Miller and Colorado catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who really got into it after the game (artist’s interpretation of that argument shown above, center).

It’s interesting that the DENVER POST story includes the headline: “Punishment On Horizon For MLB Umpires.” That very well could be after the big mess they helped create during and after Colorado’s 6-4 comeback victory, a result which knocked the Giants completely out of the playoff chase IMO (sobs, reaches for economy box of tissues). So euphoric was the POST over this NL Standings development that it apparently forgot that at least three Rockies players may be fined and/or suspended as well, including Torrealba, their starting catcher. And if they lose him, they’ll have to call someone up from the minors.

Anyway, at the center of things is Miller, who always seems to be looking for a fight. I know that the umpires have a tough job, but baseball really needs to institute a No Cowboys rule and get rid of such hotheads (Joe West, you’re next). It probably won’t happen, because “Spineless” Bud Selig is afraid of their union. But it needs to be done.

Tensions began to escalate because, Torrealba said, Miller insulted him, saying that he was out of line by showing up Campos during the game with his body language on questionable calls against Rockies pitchers. A witness to the incident said that Miller referred to his own experience as an umpire in explaining why he had the right to criticize Torrealba’s actions, though he wasn’t working the plate.

As Miller and Torrealba argued, (pitcher Huston) Street yelled at first-base umpire Jim Joyce, telling him that Miller needed to stop badgering Torrealba. Joyce came over to the rail of the Rockies’ dugout and exchanged words with Street and pitching coach Bob Apodaca.

“I was defending my catcher, that’s all. It was an emotional night on both sides,” said Street, who apologized to the umpires after the game.

Following Ryan Spilborghs’ walk-off grand slam, the Rockies celebrated at home plate. As the players dispersed, Torrealba yelled at Miller. Torrealba said he is not worried about a potential suspension.

“I didn’t do anything wrong. You offend me and I will offend you back. You show me respect and I’ll show you respect,” Torrealba said.

What did Miller call Torrealba? Any guesses? Whatever it was, it must have been borderline racist and fun.

And could we dispense with this common umpires’ charge of players “showing them up”? No one thinks one way or the other about the umpires to begin with, and that’s the way it should be.

The Rockies are only two games behind the Dodgers in the West, and lead the wild card race. I’m watching ESPN right now, and Buster Olney is calling them the most dangerous team in the NL. This little bit of drama with the umpires is only going to bring them closer.