When most people watch sports, they get into it – they carefully follow everything happening on screen and root on their team with their whole heart. Sometimes, they even get a little bit too into things, cursing at the screen or throwing something across their living room after a bad call. If fans get that passionate when they’re just sitting on their couch watching the game at home, you can only imagine how passionate the athletes themselves get after something goes wrong on the field or after a bad call is made. This is especially true in Major League Baseball.
From tantrums on home plate to cursing in the field to having a full on meltdown in the dugout, there are a ton of MLB players who have gotten a little too far. Sure, it’s expected that they be passionate about what they’re doing on the field – but there’s a difference between being passionate and wanting your team to be treated fairly, and throwing a full on tantrum in the middle of a game. After all, playing baseball is an MLB player’s job – and you certainly wouldn’t throw a tantrum and toss a laptop in the middle of a meeting at the office!
Here are 15 unprofessional displays in MLB, when players got a little too passionate and forgot to maintain their professionalism.
15 Santiago Casilla
It’s not only the opposing team’s players or someone like the umpire who can provoke an MLB player’s wrath on the field – sometimes, it can even be directed at a manager, as Bruce Bochy knows. Bochy approached pitcher Santiago Casilla during a game to pull him from the game because things weren’t going too well. Casilla, rather than understand perhaps it just wasn’t his day and it would be best to let someone else take over for the remainder of the game, took the gesture as a statement that his manager didn’t have faith in his abilities. He punched the ball into Bochy’s hand, basically threw a fit, and Bochy had to give him a talking to. When you’re a player on a team, even if you’re generally the closer who gets tapped during high stress moments, you ultimately have to do what is best for your team – and that’s a decision that the manager generally gets to make. If they say come off, you come off and root for your team mate replacing you – you don’t throw a fit.
14 Torii Hunter
We’re betting that pretty much every single MLB player has disagreed with a call at some point in their professional career. However, not every one of them has gotten ejected from a game, because most have the professionalism to keep things to themselves or express their disapproval in a mature manner. That’s not the case with Torii Hunter. Back when he was playing with the Minnesota Twins, Hunter took issue with a strike call made by the umpire – and vocally expressed his issue with the umpire right on the field. He was thrown out of the game for mouthing off on the field like that, but that’s not where the story ends. Hunter didn’t apologize for his behaviour and quietly wait out the rest of the game in the clubhouse – he started throwing things onto the field in a fit of rage, from his batting gloves to his elbow protector. He even ripped off his jersey and threw that on the field too!
13 Chris Sale
Okay, a lot of MLB players have thrown tantrums because of things that happened on the field that they deemed unfair, but Chris Sale has the unique distinction of being sent home for his behaviour before he even stepped foot onto the field. So what was the ‘clubhouse incident’ that the White Sox mentioned in a press release all about? Well, if you can believe it, it was all about what Sale was told to wear on the field. The players were expected to wear a throwback jersey in that day’s game. Innocuous enough, right? Well, Sale apparently didn’t really dig the throwback jerseys. Instead of just refusing to wear it, Sale went a little crazy in the clubhouse and cut up not only his throwback jersey, but all his teammates’ as well! It’s such a bizarre display that you almost can’t even believe it, but it really happened. And, the reason that it was important the players wear those particular jerseys was because they were tied to a giveaway – sometimes when you’re a professional athlete, you have to participate in things that benefit the organization, not just yourself.
12 Logan Morrison
First baseman Logan Morrison had a bit of a tantrum in a game back in 2014 and he did what countless baseball players have likely done in practice out of frustration – smashed his bat against the nearest hard surface. First of all, that’s definitely not a professional way to react to a bit of bad luck on the field, no matter how many hitless at-bat stints you’ve done. However, Morrison’s temper tantrum had some pretty nasty results as well – when he smashed the bat against the wall of the dugout, he used such force that he actually shattered the bat and send piece of wood flying everywhere. One of the shards flew back at him and sliced him above his eye, a wound that required five stitches. After the game, Morrison released a statement basically apologizing for his unprofessional temper tantrum – saying that “obviously, I acted like a 3-year-old.” Well…yeah.
11 Tyler Collins
Thanks to editing, a lot of verbal unprofessional displays that happen on the field in MLB can be smoothed over. So, if a player lets out an f-bomb after a frustrating hitless stint at bat, the fans in the stands are likely too far away to hear him (provided the camera doesn’t zoom in on his lips) and the cameras televising the game can choose not to focus on his display. However, there is one profane display that doesn’t need to be heard to be understood – the middle finger salute. Tyler Collins certainly isn’t the first professional athlete to throw his middle finger in the air, but that doesn’t make it any less unprofessional of a display. Sure, Detroit fans were booing him – but again, that is no excuse to throw your middle finger in the air and flip off all the fans, both in the stadium and at home.
10 Carl Pavano
I mean, if you’re going to take out your frustration on something with a bat, we suppose it’s far better if a player sets their sights on an inanimate object rather than a teammate or opponent. However, it’s still insanely unprofessional to essentially throw a toddler-appropriate temper tantrum when you’re supposed to be a professional player conducting yourself with decorum. Pitcher Carl Pavano was having a bit of trouble in a particular game in 2011 and after performing far more poorly than he usually does, his team lost. Pavano was incredibly frustrated at how things went and took it out on… a garbage can. That’s right – he grabbed a bat and when he was in the dug out, he just wailed on a garbage can until he got all that anger out. The cameras obviously caught every moment of it because seeing a grown man exhibiting a display that would be more appropriate for a toddler who’s upset they don’t get ice cream is definitely worth filming.
9 Milton Bradley
Milton Bradley is yet another MLB player who makes the list thanks to an over-the-top argument with the umpire. Back in 2007, Bradley got into a fight with umpire Mike Winters and the verbal disagreement quickly escalated to something physical – at least, that was Bradley’s intent. He had to be physically restrained by his manager Bud Black, lest he totally lose control, punch Winters and create a whole bigger issue for his team. Instead, Bradley ended up hurting himself – while Black was trying to restrain him, Bradley ended up falling and tearing his ACL. The injury not only sidelined Bradley, it also essentially destroyed his team’s chances that season – the Padres ended up losing their wild card lead and tanking in a one-game playoff to finish out the season. Was the unprofessional outburst worth that? Well, you’d have to ask Bradley on that one – he’s known for his displays on the field, so he probably still feels his actions were justified.
8 George Brett
This unprofessional display throws it all the way back to 1983, but sometimes, there are incidents so iconic that they bear repeating. MLB fans will know exactly what we’re talking about when we talk about the pine tar incident. Back in 1983, there was a certain rule on how far pine tar (which could be applied to the bat to help players improve their grip) could extend up the bat. Brett apparently was a bit overzealous with his pine tar application, and it definitely helped him – he hit a two-run homer at a crucial point in a game. The manager of the New York Yankees, Brett’s opponent, called out the player for breaking the pine tar rules and Brett didn’t take it lightly – he essentially flew off the bat and charged the men on the field who are making the call. Well, that’s one way to handle it, but certainly not the most professional way.
7 Roberto Alomar
The majority of MLB player temper tantrums and unprofessional displays involve random physical outbursts that really hurt no one – some gear tossed around, a bat hitting something, etc. However, in a game back in 1996, Roberto Alomar exhibited a display that even his biggest fans would have trouble describing as professional. Alomar was unhappy with a call that was made and he did what many other MLB players have done – got into a heated argument with the home plate umpire, who during that game was John Hirschbeck. However, exchanging words just wasn’t enough – Alomar escalated things to the next level by literally spitting in Hirschbeck’s face, a move that is disrespectful on so many levels. The controversy was stirred for awhile, as Alomar claimed his display was in response to a derogatory slur that Hirschbeck directed at him, but within about a week Hirschbeck said everything was okay. Still – it’s never okay to spit on someone during a game.
6 Jack McDowell
Back in 1995, Jack McDowell became another member of a particular club in the professional sports world – athletes who throw up a middle finger during the game, something that is always viewed as an inappropriate and unprofessional display. The situation was that the crowd was being less than receptive to McDowell and, instead of shaking it off and ignoring it, he raised a middle finger to the crowd – and he made sure they knew exactly what he was doing by twirling his finger around a bit to ensure everyone got a peek. He was immediately fined $5,000 for his display and was apologetic afterwards saying that “I did something that was very stupid, I was frustrated. You hear the boos and you’re frustrated to be losing.” Sure, every athlete would prefer to hear the crowd cheering them on rather than booing them, but sometimes fans get frustrated – and you have to learn to deal with that rather than flipping them the bird.
5 Jose Offerman
If it’s an MLB player’s first unprofessional display, they might get off a little bit easier – after all, many people have done something foolish in a moment of frustration or passion. Tempers get high on the field. However, Jose Offerman didn’t learn from his first incident in 2007, when he charged at a pitcher in a fit of rage. In 2010, he was on the sidelines managing a team in the Dominican Republic when the first base umpire made a call he disagreed with. Did he storm out onto the field and scream at the umpire, as many other players and managers have done? Not quite – it seemed that Offerman was determined to make things physical. After charging onto the field in response to a call he felt was incorrect, Offerman ended up straight up punching umpire Daniel Rayburn in the face. He was then charged with assault and taken to jail because… you can’t just punch people in the face.
4 Kenny Rogers
Cameraman really have no stakes in the games they’re filming, so when it comes to inappropriate displays on the field, their involvement is usually just making sure they’re caught on camera so they can be part of the crazy highlight reels that evening. However, in 2005, one cameraman found himself getting far more involved than he would have liked. Every professional athlete has likely gotten frustrated with the cameras on them from time to time, but the fact is, professional sports will always be televised so that viewers at home can enjoy them just like the fans in the stadium – they just have to learn to deal. However, pitcher Kenny Rogers was just having none of it, and suddenly burst out and attacked the cameraman. No one really knows why Rogers got upset with that particular cameraman – perhaps he was just having an awful day – but to say his behaviour was unprofessional is a definite understatement.
3 Brad Ausmus
Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus didn’t exactly set a stellar example for his players in a game when he threw his own temper tantrum on the field. After a game that was filled with arguments about balls and strikes and just overall bad call after bad call (in Ausmus’ opinion), he completely lost it and threw his hat and hoodie onto the field. I mean, at least he didn’t throw a hard object like a bat and hit something, as many other players have done, but still – you don’t need to be throwing anything, no matter how frustrated you get. It’s unprofessional and just makes you look a little bit like a child. However, there is one very thin silver lining to the whole situation – the garments that Ausmus threw on the field during his fit ended up being auctioned off for a good cause, so at least there’s that.
2 Bryce Harper
You know what your mother used to say – if you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say anything at all. Apparently, Bryce Harper missed the memo on that one. The Washington Nationals star was ejected from a game recently for reasons that weren’t really made clear to the public, although it was stated that it was because he was too argumentative. However, he wasn’t willing to take it lying down – after he was ejected, one of his teammates hit a walk-off home run and Harper obviously celebrated with his teammates. However, during the celebration, he had one last display of unprofessional behaviour when he pointed at the home plate umpire, Brian Knight, who had made the call to eject him from the game, and yelled “f--- you.” The cameras captured everything and people weren’t too impressed by Harper’s foul language and outburst. After all, Knight was just doing his job and making the call he thought was appropriate.
1 Manny Machado and Yordano Ventura
One of the more recent unprofessional displays in MLB comes courtesy of Manny Machado and Yordano Ventura, who has earned a reputation for his antics and tantrums. In a game back in June, Ventura apparently hit Machado with a pitch during the game – and it didn’t exactly look like it was an accident. Machado took offense and almost immediately rushed the mound to retaliate against the pitcher who had just struck him. Machado threw punches, Ventura threw punches, and two professional baseball players essentially transformed into immature boys taking part in a schoolyard brawl. We get it – while it’s tough to brush off comments and jeers from fans, it’s even tougher to shrug off someone making comments on the field. However, trash talk and trying to affect your opponent is a common thing in sports – you need to shrug it off and not retaliate as Machado did. Keep things professional, guys.