(Tony and Phil debate whether or not PETA is doing more harm than good, Harriet Miers’ chances and the wisdom of preordering an XBox 360 versus waiting for the PS3)

After the latest shitstorm in Houston, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney offers the following on his pay-to-play page.

Major League Baseball should determine a policy — a hard rule — about whether or not it is making the umpires available to the media. The NFL doesn’t permit access to reporters, but does issue rules clarifications when necessary. After the Game 2 debacle in Chicago, Eddings spoke with reporters and explained his version of what happened. While that didn’t go well, most of the time they are helped when allowed to speak for themselves, such as Rich Garcia’s mea culpa after he botched the Jeffrey Maier call in 1996.

But MLB might be running scared these days, after the Eddings press conference. Tony La Russa said before Game 3 that he had concerns about whether home plate umpire Wally Bell would be affected by the crowd and give Roger Clemens a larger strike zone, and when MLB was asked to produce a response from Bell, a spokesperson issued a no comment on his behalf before even asking him the question.

Then, on Sunday, home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi tossed La Russa and center fielder Jim Edmonds, who became the first player-manager duo to be ejected from a playoff game in seven years. According to Edmonds, Cuzzi used profanity and Edmonds did not, and according to Edmonds, he did nothing to merit ejection, especially in a playoff game. And during La Russa’s argument, crew chief Tim McClelland blocked La Russa from going near Cuzzi, with La Russa and McClelland making contact repeatedly.

What is Cuzzi’s take on it? What’s his version of their exchange? Why did McClelland deal with La Russa in the manner he did? We don’t know, because Major League Baseball did not permit the media to interview him; security wouldn’t even let reporters go near the umpires’ dressing room. After the Eddings press conference, is it now policy to prevent umpires from speaking to reporters? If so, then announce that policy and cut it into stone.

Fair ’nuff. However, it should be pointed out that La Russa was run after complaining about a Ball 4 that was clearly high and inside. Whether or not Edmonds’ whining was justified, there’s something incredible about a veteran skipper and all-star CF managing to get themselves ejected in that particular situation. Were the manager and player tossed named, for instance, Ozzie Guillen and Carl Everett, we’d be reading editorial after editorial this morning reccomending straitjackets, electro-shock, etc.