Umpires and referees may be neutral in MLB games, but that doesn’t mean they can’t accidentally cause harm to players. An incident at one of today’s games is pretty solid proof of that.
During a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox, a White Sox runner was rounding third and heading for home while the ball was in play. The hitter’s bat was still at the plate though, so the referee quickly picked it up to toss it away.
What the referee didn’t seem to realize was that on-deck batter Jose Abreu was moving around behind him, trying to get away from the play. The referee tossed the bat behind himself, and nailed Abreu right in the knee.
Abreu immediately went to the ground in pain. The referee had his eyes on the play and did not look back to see Abreu as the White Sox runner hit home plate.
It’s a pretty nasty hit to be sure.
Jose Abreu tumbles to the ground as the home plate umpire hits him in the knee with a bat pic.twitter.com/zzzeKCioWh
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) June 10, 2021
By the looks of things it was clearly a complete accident from the umpire’s fault. However, some are blaming Abreu for not being more mindful of where he was in that moment.
Others have pointed out that the umpire won’t get penalized for what he did, while a baseball player would almost certainly be fined and punished for making an identical mistake.
Hopefully Abreu wasn’t injured by what happened. We’ve seen plenty of athletes who have been injured by less harmful referee mistakes.