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MLB umps end wristband protest after Rob Manfred agrees to meet

Major League Baseball umpires wore white wristbands Saturday as a form of protest. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The umpires’ white wristband protest lasted just one day. The union ended its protest Sunday as a show of good faith after Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with them to discuss the issue, according to mlive.com.

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World Umpires Associated, the union that represents MLB umps, released a statement Saturday announcing a protest of “escalating verbal attacks on umpires.” It was a response to Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler’s comments on ump Angel Hernandez. Kinsler was highly critical of Hernanez following an ejection, saying the ump needs to “find another job.”

Kinsler was not suspended for his comments, leading the umps to protest the commissioner’s lack of action in response to the situation. Kinsler did receive a hefty fine, however.

Ian Kinsler had some harsh words for Angel Hernandez following a recent ejection. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

As part of the protest, the umpires wore white wristbands during Saturday’s games. They removed those wristbands prior to Sunday’s contests after Manfred agreed to meet with them. Either that, or they realized white wristbands are often worn in support of people who suffer from blindness, as our own Jeff Passan pointed out, and decided maybe that wasn’t the best choice for them. 

It’s unclear what will come of that meeting. The feud between umpires and players has picked up steam in recent weeks. In addition to the Kinsler incident, Adrián Beltré was ejected from a contest after dragging the on-deck circle to a different part of the field after umpire Gerry Davis told him to stand on it. Davis drew plenty of ire from fans, as he ejected Beltré while the 38-year-old was on the hunt for his 3,000th hit.

Beltré was also the subject of some comments that got ump Joe West suspended for three games. In an interview with USA Today, West said Beltré was one of the biggest whiners in the game. The umps’ union disagreed with the suspension, saying West was just sharing a “humorous exchange” between he and Beltré. West was among the umpires who wore a white wristband Saturday.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!