After giving up a career high four runs while blowing a save on Sunday, Jonathan Papelbon appeared to grab his crotch while walking back to the dugout in response to fans booing him. Umpire Joe West thought the gesture was worthy of an ejection, and now we have learned that MLB thinks it was worthy of a seven game suspension. He will begin serving the suspension tonight, and will not appeal. He was also fined an undisclosed amount.
Video of the crotch grab didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary, although it’s tough to really tell from just a video. Papelbon told reporters he was “adjusting himself”–which isn’t farfetched. But seven games, even if Papelbon was doing it in an intentionally rude manner, is an absurd amount. Pitchers who throw at hitter’s heads or players that get into brawls are often suspended for five games. On top of that, Joe West actually grabbed Papelbon by the jersey and, as of now, has not received any punishment. Contact with an umpire is usually a big deal. Not so when it’s the umpire initiating the contact, I guess. I think MLB got this one wrong.