Russell Martin tore into umpire Laz Diaz last night

Yanks salvage series, win nail-biter over Angels
The Starting Pitching Problem

Via Marc Carig, catch Russell Martin ripped home plate ump Laz Diaz following last night’s game.”He told me I had to earn the privilege (to throw the ball back to the pitcher),” said Martin, a three-time All-Star. “Even at the end of the game after I get hit in the neck. I’m like, can I throw the ball back now? He’s still like no. I’m like you’re such a (expletive). Like for real. Unbelievable. I even told him like when there’s guys on base, I like to keep my arm loose. No. I’m not letting you throw a ball back. That’s pretty strange to me.”

Terrible umpiring is nothing new, but usually it’s limited to calls on the field. I’ve never heard of a catcher being told he has to “earn the privilege” to throw the ball back to his pitcher. That’s just petty. Of course, calling out an umpire publicly wasn’t the smartest move on Martin’s part. I’m thinking he’s going to have to work a little harder to get borderline calls going forward.

Yanks salvage series, win nail-biter over Angels
The Starting Pitching Problem
  • Rainbow connection

    Unions. Ruining America.

    • Billion$Bullpen


      Fire that slob. Earn the right. How bout this ump, you call the balls and strikes and let the players throw the baseballs. You want to throw a baseball in a MLB game get drafted and sign a contract as a player.

    • Dr. No

      +1 also. Although there is A LOT that is ruining America today. Unions certainly are included however.

    • Bo Knows

      yes the big bad unions that have fought to give people fair wages, and benefits for workers and there families and protection from shady firings. Pick something else to bitch about

      • mike

        same union which was broken by baseball because of ineptitude and non-accountability, too many layers of management for each league, poor work-product along with credibility concerns where some guys were consistantly scamming the league by screwing with airline tix……we as fans can bitch about that.

      • Nick

        Yes, the same union that protects these idiots and keeps them employed. If i did that at my job i would be fired. Nice try though!

        • Ted Nelson

          If you did what Martin did at your job you’d get fired, not what the ump did. The ump is the boss in that situation. Bosses tend to suck, but they usually tell the people under them what to do. What Martin did was to bash someone above him… I don’t mind that he did it at all since I think he’s justified, but that’s generally frowned upon in most lines of work.

          I can’t stand what the umpire did and think that they should be held more accountable, don’t get me wrong. But I highly doubt someone above you would be fired for being a bit of a dick to you. Let’s be honest.

          • CC

            The premise of your argument is wrong. The umpire is not “above” the player. The umpire is there to officiate a game. He is in no way the player’s boss. The umpire has certain decision making privileges, but that’s it. Martin’s boss is Joe Girardi, the Steinbrenner family, or in some cases maybe Major League Baseball. But, there is no way any umpire is a boss of a player. In fact, I’d argue the opposite. Without these players, the umpires would have no job. So if anything, the players are the boss of the umpires.

            Do your job and stay out of the game.

            • Ted Nelson

              I disagree. The umpire is officiating the player, and therefore “above” the player. He’s not really his boss, but if you wanted to compare it to a lot of jobs that’s basically the arrangement. Most people don’t have “umpires” at work, just various people above, below, and in line with them. If you work in a regulated industry, maybe a government regulator is a better example. And there too, saying that the regulator sucks isn’t really going to do anything for you. More downside than upside probably.

              “So if anything, the players are the boss of the umpires.”

              No. Not at all. In no way is the player the umpire’s boss.

              “Do your job and stay out of the game.”


              • Mr. Sparkle

                Actually, I think the best argument is that the fans are there to see the players…not the umps. That alone puts the players ahead since, if an ump is canned for continued incompetence or even garbage like this incident (or those of Joe West or Bob Davidson), no one will blink an eye.

                Diaz and the two other umps I mentioned are prime examples of guys who don’t understand that no one is there to see them and no one will miss them when they’re gone.

            • Ted Nelson

              If you don’t think that the umpire has authority over the player on the baseball field, I would really suggest watching some more baseball. Or better yet play some more organized baseball and let the umpire know that you think you’re his boss. See how it goes.

            • Mister D

              External auditor is a better parallel. One has more control over the other, but not managerial control. And while you could get away with calling an auditor who was being a dick a dick, it would just make your next few weeks rougher.

      • A.D.

        There should probably be a separation of turn of the century union accomplishments and recent union accomplishments

        • Ted Nelson

          Should probably have a much more in-depth conversation about the pros and cons, but unfortunately that’s rarely how politics seem to work.

        • Bubba

          Yep, Unions definitely had a time and a place. Now I think they often do more harm than good.

        • flamingo

          Good point.

  • chuck

    should of called one down the middle and let it hit him in the nuts… too bad its not little league where odds are it can get past the hitter to achieve that.

    • Erica

      Calling AJ Burnett!

      • JohnC

        Calling Joaquin Andujar

  • Erica

    How can Diaz actually justify that he’s supposed to throw the ball to the pitcher and not Russell? Is there some warped rulebook we should know about?

    • B-Rando

      Totally agree. Usually I brush some of this umpire stuff under the rug, but for some reason this story infuriates me.

      This isn’t arguing balls and strikes, this isn’t arguing checked swings. This is a major league ball player requesting to throw a new ball into the game for his pitcher.

      It seems like its the smallest of requests one can ask from an umpire. Diaz is an absolute jackass.

      • Mister D

        Whats more annoying is that Diaz isn’t even one of the shitty umpires. Or wasn’t.

        • B-Rando

          Yeah I agree with that from a balls and strikes standpoint. However, he shouldn’t have a job in MLB if he wants to pull the shit he was doing with Martin last night.

  • Strat

    “Even at the end of the game after I get hit in the neck. I’m like, can I throw the ball back now? He’s still like no. I’m like you’re such a (expletive). Like for real.”

    Maybe Diaz isn’t a big fan of Wayne’s World dialogue Russell.

  • crawdaddy

    I’m not so sure how much support his other umpires will show him by screwing Martin on calls? Diaz is a terrible umpire and I bet most of his breathren know it.

    • adm2011

      they probably laughed about it..

  • mattdamonwayans

    Zero accountability. Must be sweet to have unlimited job security and have other people get in trouble for criticizing you.

    • JohnC

      just ask CB Buckner, by far the worst umpire in baseball

      • TCMiller30

        I’d take Buckner over Angel Hernandez, Tim McClelland or Joe West..

  • Comrade Al

    This idiot also called ARod out on a checked swing in the first that wasn’t even close. I realize that umpires get calls wrong all the time, especially on checked swings, but this clown refused to even consult the first base umpire! Incompetence bordering on sabotage.

    • jjyank

      Agreed on that. Like the YES guys in the booth said, how can the umpire look at both the location of the ball and the position of A-Rod’s bat simultaneously, especially from that angle?

      • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

        Yup. To me the galling thing was refusing to ask the 1B ump (who clearly would’ve changed the call to checked swing). Frankly umps/refs across all the major sports save maybe hockey have gotten things very much twisted around, making a point of making a point, worrying about being shown up, rather than being most interested in making the correct calls.

        I can’t wait for the homeplate ump to be replaced by pitchfx.

  • SMK

    It’s time for robots…who crush bad umpires.

    • jjyank

      I support this.

      +1 for robots!

  • jsbrendog
    • Cuso

      Actually Hawk was wrong and the ump was right here

      • TCMiller30

        agreed.. and Hawk is a douche

  • Dr. No

    What kind of a name is Laz Diaz anyway?

    I believe it’s Dutch…

    • Pat D

      Like Todd Gak?

      • Cuso


        Gak! What kinda name is Gak! anyways?

        Todd Gak!

    • adm2011

      a name that you have no business questioning.. do ppl question your name “dr no”??

  • Fernando

    Laz clearly thinks he’s a Marine drill instructor and Martin is just a maggot. He’s pretty well-known for having one of the largest strike zones in the game.

  • mike

    he is an inept umpre… and this attitude is another reason why.

    if he wants to throw the ball and play catch with the pitcher, either try out to be a catcher or have him call his daddy and grab a glove.

    Much like refs in boxing or Offensive lineman, the best umps are those whose presence is unnoticed.

    • VCR1111

      “Much like refs in boxing or Offensive lineman, the best umps are those whose presence is unnoticed.”

      Couldn’t agree more!

  • VCR1111

    Here is my list of the top 5 worst umpires in baseball:

    #5 “Balkin'” Bob Davidson
    #4 Angel Hernandez
    #3 Laz Diaz
    #2 Joe West
    #1 CB Bucknor

    Honorable Mention: The worst umpire I have ever seen, no the worst official in any sport I have ever seen, has to be Bruce Froemming.

    • Pat D

      Are you basing your opinion on Froemming solely on the Milt Pappas no hitter?

      I’d have to say that the rest of your list is pretty spot on.

      • VCR1111

        Along with Pappas no hitter (which was an awful call) Froemming is guilty of more horrendous calls and acts on the field. The guy was always being fined for public comments and behavior. His games were always about showing how tough he was rather than doing a job of calling balls and strikes. Sad thing is after he retired he was named Special Assistant to the Vice President on Umpiring. No wondering umpiring is so bad.

        • Pat D

          I see. I think Froemming’s “prime” was a bit before I paid attention to horrible umpiring, so I appreciate the information.

    • Mister D

      Eh, even after last night Diaz doesn’t make the list. Hernandez has to be #3 at worst; him + West and Bucknor are the big 3 of complete suck. Mike Winters needs to be in the top 5. Phil Cuzzi is a bigger pile than Diaz as well.

      • VCR1111

        I thought about Cuzzi…he’s awful also.

        Thing about Diaz is that his name always seem to pop up when there’s talk about bad umpires. He’s notorious for holding grudges, and actually begins to officiate through his grudges. Froemming was the king of that. You get on his “bad side” and all of a sudden the definition of a strike would change.

        I never noticed Winters though…interesting.

      • G

        Where does McClelland fall in here? I mean he gets points for having a consistent strike zone (even if it’s bad) but some of the calls he’s made over the years and some of the ways he has defended himself have to put him fairly high up.

        • VCR1111

          Interesting…I actually like McClelland as an ump. Sure it’s annoying how long he takes to call a strike, but I think he has a pretty fair and consistant zone.

          Since I made a top 5 of worst umpires, for argument sake, allow me to make my top 5 of the best umpires:

          #5 Sam Holbrook
          #4 Tim Tschida
          #3 Tim McClelland
          #2 Jim Joyce
          #1 Jim Wolf

          Honorable mention: John Hirschbeck. This poor guy was spit on by Roberto Alomar and took a foul ball off his junk. Hats off to you!

          • Rivera Venue Blues

            Geez, how many umpires have 3 letter first names? Laz, Bob, Sam, Tim, Tim, Jim, Jim, Joe.

            • VCR1111

              Wow! I never even noticed that…so true. LOL

  • Darren

    Is this guy serious? A priviliege to throw the ball back to the pitcher? The catcher does that 120 times a game, plus warm-ups!!!

    • TCMiller30

      Seriously.. I think they earned that right when they got penciled into the lineup behind the plate..

  • a devoute Yankee fan

    Time the Commissioner of Base Ball step in and ended this umpire’s personal egotistical reign of terror on trying to psych out a ball player for either his or the other teams gain! That is his Job. keep this game fair and clean and now!!!!

    • Cuso

      sure-fire way to put the umpire’s union on strike again.

    • G

      I’m sure Selig heard of the incident and thought it was absurd, but the umpires have such a strong union that I doubt even he has much power.

  • RetroRob

    Random thoughts:

    Apparently an intoxicated fan once attacked Diaz on the field. Some times drunk people are correct.

    Cuba has a low standard for HOF induction.

    He’s only 49, which means he can be umpiring for another 15 or 16 years if he wants. Sad.

    Even bad umpires have Wikipedia entries. Double sad.

    • Pat D

      I remember thinking he was a bad ass after fending off that drunken attack. Then I just realized that he was just bad, as in umpiring.

      The horribly ironic thing about Diaz and his umpiring career is that he was promoted to full time umpire when that mass resignation of umpires happened in 1999. One of the umpires who resigned then only to be later re-hired? Why, Joe West, of course.

    • adm2011

      maybe you are just jealous that you don’t have a wipipedia entry.. and that is a low blow to comment about cuba.. and i wonder if you would of felt the same if that drunk man would had seriously hurt him or one of the players.. go worry about something more important that a whining catcher not being able to throw the ball..

  • Charlie in SD

    Just another a-hole on a power trip. As stated, Martin is a 3-time all-star! I’m glad Martin called him out. F that guy.

  • Ethan

    In my honest opinion umpires are ruining baseball right now. Come into the fucking 21st century. If you can’t call the play right, or even if there is some doubt in your mind (regardless of your stubbornness or pride) get some help from technology which WON’T get it wrong, ever.

  • Cuso

    It must be the Pepsi commercial with him Damon and Mauer that went to his head.

    Because they said his name, he must actually think he’s a celebrity.

    • Cuso

      “I’ll be the judge of that, Johnny”

      “F@^k off, Laz”

  • G

    Looks like Chris Stewart is our designated Laz Diaz catcher from now in haha.

  • Alibaba

    I hope Martin’s comments don’t come back to bite the team. Quality of umpiring in MLB is beyond atrocious and there is ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY. I now know that the probability of any improvement is near zero.

  • Randi

    Laz Diaz lost the right to criticize anyone after that HORRIFIC swinging strike 3 call against A-Rod early in the game on a 3-2 pitch. The third base ump says A-Rod was safe, yet Diaz somehow saw both A-Rod’s swing and the ball over the plate – which BTW the pitch was a ball and A-Rod should’ve walked. It was another example of the crud umpiring that’s been occurring during the past five years or so.

  • tut

    So he didn’t let Martin throw the ball back after foul balls or after every pitch?

  • adm2011

    its funny how all you non-playing ppl and non-umpires like to judge others.. maybe you guys should take yourselfs to baseball camp or umpire school..

    • TCMiller30

      elaborate please.. Do you think the ump was right in this case?

      • TCMiller30

        because I would love to see someone defend that side of the argument.

      • adm2011

        there are no rules that says the ump has to give the catcher the ball..

        • Mr. Sparkle

          I’m sure in “umpire school” they teach the umpires not to instigate fights with the players…especially over such small requests. I was an umpire…it’s the first thing your supervisors tell you at every level. Diaz’ only response should have been, “OK, fine. Here’s the ball.” That’s what any umpire worth their salt would recommend. Anyone who doesn’t should never be an umpire.

  • adm2011

    if martin wouldn’t had run to the media crying about not being able to throw a ball back, no one would had known.. i guess he needed some attention..

    • Deep Thoughts

      Oh shut up, Concern Troll. Don’t change the subject, which is Laz Diaz’s indefensible performance as an umpire.

      • adm2011

        of all the years he’s been umpiring, not giving the catcher the ball seems so petty for Trolls like you to worry about.. stop crying over spilled milk.. they won the game & thats what’s more important.. isn’t it?!! worry about more important things that are going on in this world..

    • Mr. Sparkle

      I think Martin’s crappy hitting has gotten him enough attention so far. I think every outrageous act by an umpire should be brought to light since MLB does an awful job of reprimanding them for anything they do. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  • Deep Thoughts

    More from Laz Diaz’s greatest hits: Cover up the mark on the foul line from the call you blew on the previous play:

  • Deep Thoughts
    • Mike

      MLB VP of Operations, and Joe Torre who criticizes the Yankees every tine he has a chance, has just said there was nothing wrong with what Laz Díaz, and asked him to keep up the good work.