MLB.com Columnist

Paul Hagen

Torre to skippers: Cool it with ball, strike gripes

Torre to skippers: Cool it with ball, strike gripes

Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's chief baseball officer, wants managers to stop arguing balls and strikes with the umpires.

Torre, himself a Hall of Fame manager, sent a memo to managers, general managers and assistant general managers on Friday on the topic. In part, it read: "This highly inappropriate conduct is detrimental to the game and must stop immediately." The development was first reported by the Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the document.

Torre expressed concern that managers are relying on the available technology to argue from the dugout. Most plays on the field are subject to replay review and teams monitor video feeds to help decide whether to challenge a call. Balls and strikes may not be reviewed.

Using the in-house monitors as a basis to argue is "an express violation of the Replay Regulations, which state that 'on-field personnel in the dugout may not discuss any issue with individuals in their video review room using the dugout phone other than whether to challenge a play subject to video replay review,'" Torre wrote.

"Although disagreements over ball and strike calls are natural, the prevalence of manager ejections simply cannot continue. This conduct not only delays the game, but it also has the propensity to undermine the integrity of the umpires on the field."

Torre concluded the memo by writing that any manager or coach thrown out for arguing balls and strikes "hereafter will be disciplined, including at least a fine."

Cubs manager Joe Maddon was tossed earlier this month while arguing from the dugout. "I know recently I've been guilty of yelling at an umpire," he told MLB.com. "(But) I never argue based on replay. I argue based on what I see."

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was sympathetic to Torre's view.

"I think, from Joe's vantage point, it's a reminder," he told MLB.com. "One of the great things about him (is). . .he's been in the dugout and he is where he is. I don't know what the lens looks like from where he is, but I understand and I definitely don't try to do his job. I listen to him, I try to honor everything he throws out there and I think he can also respect the feelings you have to have in the dugout if you feel things aren't working out the way you'd want them to work out or you're not getting calls or you're on the short end of calls sometimes.

"You just let us know, if you're going that route, what's going to happen. I don't think it's anything other than a very good reminder, a pretty strong reminder, that you're going to get fined or whatever's going to happen if you choose to go that route. That's fair."

Earlier this season, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was ejected after arguing balls and strikes and covering home plate with a sweatshirt. "I'm still going to react to what I see in front of me," he told reporters.

Red Sox manager John Farrell, the A's Bob Melvin and the Giants' Bruce Bochy also have gotten the thumb this season.

"Joe's the boss, so I guess we'd better cool it," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "There's just some days you can't stand over there and not say something. They're always making additions, and I get speeding the game up and sometimes that sort of thing slows it down, so it'll take a little while to walk through that and see exactly how to play it. But you can't take the emotion out of the game. Joe knows that as well as everybody, but I understand where he's coming from."

Paul Hagen is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.