Major League Baseball has announced that Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Willingham has been suspended for one game after he bumped home plate umpire Bill Miller Saturday afternoon in Kansas City. Willingham has indicated he is appealing the suspension. Until the league rules on the appeal, Willingham will be able to continue playing.
The events leading to this suspension took place in the top of the eighth inning during Saturday’s A’s-Royals matchup. Willingham took a called strike three from Miller and immediately reacted in disgust. He immediately flipped his bat and helmet and quickly said the magic words that got him ejected (VIDEO here). He stayed in Miller’s face and as Miller turned to his right, the two men brushed shoulders.
Willingham clearly was fired up and did make contact with Miller. However, if you review the video above it does not appear to be sufficient contact to warrant a suspension. Incidental contact happens in a variety of sports and this was as incidental as it comes. Maybe you fine Willingham for the tantrum itself, but a suspension seems too harsh.
Willingham will await word on his appeal, which could take some time. John Shea speculated it could take several weeks to hear the appeal. In the meantime, Josh Willingham will continue to play.