The late Doug Harvey was the perfect example of how an umpire should conduct himself.
Harvey would get into a heated argument with the likes of Tommy Lasorda, Dick Williams or Whitey Herzog … then it was over.
The umpire would walk one way; the manager would go another. That was class.
Now we are in a society of classless umpires in Major League Baseball.
The latest example, of course, is Mike Winters.
We all know Winters called Milton Bradley a “f------ piece of s---” Sunday afternoon. Many have wanted to call Bradley that because of his previous actions; now Winters should be calling himself that for his behavior.
Bradley is no poster child for good conduct. His history tell us that.
But when Bradley reached first base in the eighth inning Sunday, it was Winters’ job to be an arbitrator. And a good arbitrator keeps the peace; he doesn’t stir the pot.
That is where Winters crossed the line Sunday. He has joined the likes of Joe West as classless umpires who think they are above the law – when they are supposed to be the law.
Winters has a history in these matters. Here's what Charlie Hayes of the Giants told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1998 after a run-in with Winters over a strike call at the plate:
"He told me to go (expletive) myself," Hayes said. "The next one who says that to me, I'm hitting in the mouth."
Not surprisingly, the two argued after the inning, Winters ejected Hayes, and teammates had to hold Hayes back from charging Winters.
Bradley probably would have at least bumped Winters and earned a suspension had Manager Bud Black not intervened. As it is, Bradley will be out for quite some time after tearing knee ligaments while Black was trying to hold him back.
Now, Bradley will be on the shelf all winter … and probably into next summer.
Winters? He should be spending his winters and summers on the sideline after crossing the line as an arbitrator.