Last night, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ top prospect, Delmon Young, threw his bat and hit the home plate umpire in the chest. Young, who plays for the AAA-level Durham Bulls, had just been ejected for arguing a called third strike. And just like that, the Future of the organization just took a big hit. At the very least, Young, who was named Baseball America’s 2005 minor league player of the year, will be suspended for a significant portion of this season, if not for the entire year. He will have to carry this stigma with him for the rest of his career. Every game he plays, an opposing announcer will mention that Delmon Young is a “hot-head” and will bring up the time that he threw bat at an umpire. In addition, umpires will not forget this incident and it will be a long time before another umpire gives Young a close call, even if this umpire was a scab. Delmon Young once complained publicly that he should already be in the majors and that the ownership of the Devil Rays was were holding him back so that it would be longer before he hits arbitration eligibility and free agency. Delmon Young voiced publicly that at 19 he was ready for the major leagues. Anyone that has ever seen Delmon Young play, says he is a 5-tool, can’t miss prospect. Well, apparently last night, he was missing the 6th tool, his brain, and it is going to cost him dearly.
There are no quotes from Young, however C Crash Davis stated, “Look at that! He hit the fucking umpire. Guy gets a free steak!”
Below is a link where you can listen to the audio feed from the radio broadcasts of both the Durham Bulls and the Pawtucket Red Sox. It is still difficult to tell exactly how severe the incident was. The Durham announcers suggest that Young just gave the bat a slight underhanded flick towards the umpire, while the Pawtucket crew indicate that it might have been more viscous.
Young hits ump with bat after ejection [milb.com]
[UPDATE] Here is another link. This one is an eyewitness report. First of all, earlier reports had the bat hitting the umpire in the chest. This witness says the bat hit the umpire in the legs. More importantly is how “viscous” the toss was. It was underhanded. It was not violent. But it was premeditated. Young was walking back to the dugout. After about five steps, he turned and tossed the bat at the umpire. He clearly thought about it and acted on it. He was not in the middle of a heated confrontation. It was clearly unprovoked.
Saw it with my own eyes [raystalk]
[UPDATE] Young has been suspended indefinately by the International League. In essence, the league has not had enough time to conduct a thorough investigation, and will make a final decision on the length of the suspension once the investigation has concluded.
Rays’ Young suspended indefinately [devilrays.com]