Is a Suspension Coming for Jerry Manuel?

Mets manager brushed umpire during argument

There's no question that Jerry Manuel came into contact with umpire Bill Welke while arguing an obstruction call against Jose Reyes on Thursday night. Watch the video here and at the 0:45 mark you'll see the bill of Manuel's cap clip the umpire's face.

That can be enough to earn a manager a suspension, even if it is minor, incidental contact. Go a bit earlier in that video, though, and watch the play that caused Manuel's explosion in the first place. It's pretty clear that Reyes didn't obstruct Shane Victorino, and that, in fact, Victorino went out of his way to create contact with Reyes.

We all realize that bad calls will happen in the course of a baseball game. We also realize that often times those calls will lead to arguments from managers. Major League Baseball should take that into account when deciding on discipline for Manuel.

Unlike Victorino, he didn't go out of his way to make exceedingly minor contact with the umpire. And he was right to be upset in the first place. Obviously, the correctness of the call can't make it okay for a manager to make physical contact with an ump, but there's more to this incident than just what went down on Thursday night.

There's a long history of ill will between Victorino and the Mets, and now he'd elbowed one of Manuel's players out of the way in a rundown. When two teams with bad blood play, the umpires will sometimes issue a warning after a close but otherwise innocuous pitch to head off a beanball war. They take history into account in those situations, and they should take history into account when making their determination on Manuel as well.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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