Dan McDonnell’s response to intimidation tactics of the umpire crew during the Louisville-St. John’s baseball game last Saturday has caused him a three-game suspension as the NCAA Tournament begins.

The incident occurred after a third strike was called on a low and outside pitch to Drew Haynes in the sixth inning.

The observer recalls feeling concern for McDonnell, with two of the umpires getting closer to the Louisville coach than they needed to be. They didn’t touch him or say anything but the manner in which they approached him was clearly intimidating.

McDonnell made his point and returned to the dugout. But someone in the umpiring crew said something, and the U of L coach came dashing back out, clearly a response to an offending comment.  One of the umpires just could not resist getting in one more jab.

At one point, McDonnell may have brushed into the chest of the offending umpire. That’s as far as it went, and the penalty is a gross over-reaction. The U of L coach, while a fiery advocate for his team, is a man who recognizes his boundaries.

“It’s my job as head coach to set the standard for excellence in everything we do in our program,” McDonnell said in a statement. “I let the emotion of the situation get the best of me, and for that, I apologize to everyone in the Louisville baseball family.”

Not necessary, coach.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

8 thoughts on “McDonnell’s Suspension Rewards Baiting”
  1. I had the same reaction you did, Charlie. I don’t remember ever having the same feeling during a confrontation between a coach and officials before. One or more those umpires was out of order and way out of line.

  2. Sean Moth, radio play by play guy, repeatedly expressed his concern and dismay over what he described as something like a “conspiracy” (his word). What’s up with that?

  3. Absolutely necessary, Coach! He bumped an umpire in an arguement. That’s automatic! And NCAA rules state 3 games.

    Baiting? This is 2 senior members of the crew protecting their partner. This happens all the time (normally the cheif).

    Nice article HOMER!

    1. Thanks, Jason. Nice to hear from an umpire for a change. I am an unabashed homer, but umpires are supposed to be neutral. What’s with the name-calling anyway? McDonnell wasn’t about to hurt anyone so their buddy didn’t need protecting.

    2. Protecting their partner? By saying something offensive enough to bring Coach Mac barreling back out of the dugout to get in someone’s face? That’s not protection, Jason, that’s provocation, and it isn’t in the job description of an umpire who knows his job.

      Irv Brown, one of the best college basketball officials ever to wear a whistle, once told me, “I never T’d up a coach on a call I got right.” If I’m the Big East, none of these clowns ever works another conference game.

  4. Jason
    Its not the job of an umpire to protect anyone except the players on the field. Its the job of the umpire to act like Jim Joyce. Take the yelling like a fricking man, go home look at the video, and come back and deal with the reality of your call.
    The umps in this video look like a gang stalking someone bowed out and ready to rumble. Staring down people at the plate and waiting for confrontation.

  5. That’s why these guys aren’t working pro ballgames — not up to standards, although MLB isn’t without hotheads in blue.

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