Jim Leyland was fit to be tied after last night's game in Minnesota:
Shortly after midnight this morning, Tigers manager Jim Leyland stood in a Metrodome hallway and came to a boil. Leyland wasn't upset that his team had just lost its hold on a one-run lead and lost to Minnesota, 14-10, on Joe Crede's two-out grand slam in the 13th.
"I'm proud of our guys," Leyland began his postgame remarks to the media. "They battled their (butts) off."
A few moments later, Leyland was asked about his seventh-inning ejection by plate umpire Paul Schrieber.
"Did you see what happened?" Leyland said, his voice rising. "Then write what you saw. I don't have to say a word."
What happened was that Schrieber placed his hand on Magglio Ordonez's back, which sent Leyland out onto the field to get up into the umpire's face. I watched the video of the altercation and Leyland has a right to be angry. This wasn't an instance in which the ump placed a grandfatherly hand on Ordonez's shoulder while kindly explaining his strike zone to him. Rather, it looked like Schrieber was trying to shove him back towards the dugout.
Maybe the touching rules are a bit, well, touchy, but they are enforced to the nth degree against the players. It's a bright line: you touch the ump, you're gone, and you're probably suspended. Indeed, just a couple of weeks ago Milton Bradley was suspended when the brim of his cap grazed the home plate ump's nose. Slight bumps in the past have led to suspensions of other players as well.
I'm not a fan of zero tolerance rules -- circumstances matter, and I prefer some sense and context to enter into the enforcement of every rule -- but if the personal space of the umps is going to continue to be held absolutely inviolate, the same has to go for the players. No touching ever, and violations of the bright line rule should be met with the same sort of discipline that is typically meted out to the players. That especially goes in this case, because Schrieber clearly crossed a line that is typically respected.