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Umpires remove protest wristbands

World Umpires Association to meet with MLB governing board
MLB.com

A league-wide umpire measure that played out on Saturday has been put on hold pending a meeting with the MLB governing board at the suggestion of Commissioner Rob Manfred.

The World Umpires Association, the governing body that represents MLB umpires, announced via Twitter that it would remove the symbolic white wristbands that they wore on Saturday as response to "escalating verbal attacks" this season.

A league-wide umpire measure that played out on Saturday has been put on hold pending a meeting with the MLB governing board at the suggestion of Commissioner Rob Manfred.

The World Umpires Association, the governing body that represents MLB umpires, announced via Twitter that it would remove the symbolic white wristbands that they wore on Saturday as response to "escalating verbal attacks" this season.

"To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wrist bands pending the requested meeting."

Tweet from @MLBaseballUmps: To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wrist bands pending the requested meeting.

Sunday's development comes after the umpires had said they would wear their wristbands "until our concerns are taken seriously by the Office of the Commissioner."

The protest initially birthed out of response to a verbal attack by Tigers infielder Ian Kinsler, but was aggregated around what the WUA has seen as an elevated rate of scrutiny this year.

Kinsler directed criticism at longtime umpire Angel Hernandez after being ejected for questioning Hernandez's calls on Monday, saying a day later that Hernandez was a poor umpire who is "messing with baseball games, blatantly." Kinsler was fined for an amount that Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said was the biggest he'd seen.

"This week, a player publicly and harshly impugned the character and integrity of Angel Hernandez -- a veteran umpire who has dedicated his career to baseball and the community," the WUA said in its statement. "The verbal attack on Angel denigrated the entire MLB umpiring staff and is unacceptable."

"The Office of the Commissioner has failed to address this and other escalating attacks on umpires. The player who denigrated Hernandez publicly said he thought he would be suspended. Instead [he] got far more lenient treatment -- a fine."

The wristbands were first on display in a Saturday matinee at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and Blue Jays, the lone afternoon game of the day, as many throughout the Majors looked on.

"There's always going to be a couple days or a day of an incident, which happens every single year," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We move on from it. It's competition. It's heated at times. It's emotional. That's what's great about it. That's what we love about it, and the umpires do get the brunt of it sometimes. But I also think they're kind of trained to understand that."

It's unclear what specifics the umpires seek from the Commissioner, other than stiffer fines and punishment for backlash. No official meet date has been announced.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.