Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended three games and fined an undisclosed amount of money for inappropriate actions last Saturday against the Oakland Athletics that included making contact with home plate umpire Tony Randazzo. The game saw the A's rally for four runs in the ninth inning off Papelbon but fall short in a 9-8 loss.
Papelbon was brought in to a non-save situation and struggled early on to get called strikes. While he didn't blatantly show up the umpire initially, as the strikes were not being called it was easy to tell he was growing frustrated. After a couple relatively close balls were followed by a Cliff Pennington RBI double, Jason Varitek argued with Randazzo and was quickly ejected. Papelbon joined him in the clubhouse when he made a comment towards Randazzo after a strike was actually called.
I would actually argue the bumping was really not that much and actually was similar to Josh Willingham's bump of umpire Bill Miller a month or so ago. Sometimes the umpire will turn around in front of the player and it leads to inadvertent contact. Maybe the player shouldn't be that close, but I still call BS on some of these "bumping" charges.
Nonetheless, Papelbon doesn't help himself by sounding like a petulant child. Papelbon has indicated he will appeal the decision, and also made it sound like MLB is out to get him:
Before Tuesday's game against the Yankees, Papelbon said he had not been interviewed by anyone connected with Major League Baseball about the incident. Nevertheless, he suspected he would be disciplined.
"It's me," he said. "You know I don't get away with anything. I've been fined for being three seconds late (between pitches)."
Poor Jonathan Papelbon.