The South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Michael Cunningham considers the nature of manager/umpire squabbles, writing “in no other major sports league are coaches allowed to enter the field and interrupt play to dispute calls. In baseball, you have the manager, dressed in his team’s uniform, sprinting out to engage in spirited arguments that often lead nowhere and rarely result in a changed call.” Come to think of it, that might be really be the thing to get me to start watching NASCAR.
The goals for umpires are to maintain order and keep the game moving while not accepting personal ridicule or abuse. Some of the limits to arguing are covered by the rules.
Making contact with an umpire is grounds for automatic ejection. So is leaving your position to argue balls and strikes or failing to leave the field after being instructed to do so.
Other restrictions have developed through tradition. Technically it’s against the rules to use profanity with an umpire, but in practice managers usually can curse with the exception of two particularly vulgar (and unprintable) words.
“I love that,” said Jim Evans, an American League umpire for 25 years who now runs a professional umpire school in Kissimmee. “That makes my job easy. You just threw yourself out of the game. [Managers] know that.”
A manager who slams his hat on the ground or kicks dirt, even if not in the direction of the ump, usually is gone. Umpires won’t allow anyone to draw a line in the dirt off the plate to show the location of a pitch.
Mentioning plays from earlier in the game while arguing the current call can get a manager tossed. Accusing an umpire of trying to get calls wrong for personal reasons doesn’t go over well, and neither does mentioning television replays.
“I have told [umps], ‘I will go look at it on video.’ They don’t like that,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
Even in the Can-Am League, umpires generally don’t look kindly on efforts to walk away with stadium fixtures.