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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Texas Rangers Catcher Torrealba Strikes Umpire

Texas Rangers Catcher Torrealba Strikes Umpire

Major Penalty Is In Order

By Dell Hill

The video you’re about to see is a never-to-be-forgotten moment in time for Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba.  A huge fine and substantial suspension are in order.

Here’s the report of this ugly incident, as written by Mark Townsend

Torrealba Involved In Ugly Incident

Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba has always played the game of baseball with a lot of fire and a lot passion.  Unfortunately, the 11 year big league veteran took that fire and passion too far while playing for Leones del Caracas of the Venezuelan League on Friday.

After Torrealba took an ugly cut at a breaking ball and missed for strike three, he immediately began a heated discussion with home plate umpire Dario Rivero, Jr over a disputed strike call earlier in the at-bat.  The two men jawed face-to-face for a good fifteen seconds before Torrealba struck the umpire in the face mask with the palm of his hand and pushed him away.

Here's video of the incident from the Venezuelan League broadcast on Friday afternoon.  The punch will come 35 seconds in.

“Needless to say this is an inexcusable and disgusting display by a guy I've always respected for his passion, but even more so for his high character and leadership on and off field.  To see this happen with any professional baseball player would be startling, but for it to be Yorvit Torrealba is absolutely stunning.

There's no doubt baseball can get the best of even the very best on any given day, but whatever explanation and apology Torrealba comes up will simply not be good enough.  It's a very sad and very disappointing situation.  There's no other way for me to put it.”

Dell’s Bottom Line:  Having umpired baseball up to the semi-pro level, I’ve been involved in many a good old-fashioned “war of words” with players, coaches and managers over the years, but I’ve never come close to having anyone take a swing at me during (or after) a game.  Arguing calls is natural.  It’s expected.  It’s part of the game.  Winning at the professional level is vitally important and, in the heat of battle, arguments are going to happen.

But there’s an invisible line drawn between umpires and everyone else on the field and throwing a punch to the face of an umpire is so far over that line it’s difficult to comprehend.  Until now, I’ve never seen anyone actually take that kind of swing at an ump.

After a cooling off period, I suspect that league officials will administer an extremely heavy fine, along with a suspension of considerable length.  Perhaps a hundred thousand dollar fine and a 50 game suspension would convince Mr. Torrealba to never again raise his hand to an umpire.  

Such a penalty would have no effect on Torrealba’s status with the Texas Rangers, but you can certainly bet the rent money that Rangers management is looking in to this incident closely, and American League umpires have already taken note.  An official warning from Major League Baseball may very well be issued.

If there’s a “next time”, Torrealba’s career in pro baseball should come to an instant end.

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