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Big League Stew

‘He’s a liar’: Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price and umpire Tom Hallion trade accusations

David Brown
Big League Stew

Pitchers and umpires disagree all of the time, but it's not every day two of them go on the record and call each other a liar. That's what happened at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on Sunday, after left-hander David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays and plate umpire Tom Hallion disagreed about the 118th pitch Price threw.

Well, "disagreed" only begins to cover it. Price (and many other Rays players) claim Hallion unnecessarily dropped an "F-bomb" at Price, which Hallion denies — and then some, calling Price a "liar" in response. Price later took to his Twitter account — which is usually full of fun stories and pictures about his awesome dog, Astro — and defended himself.

Price seemed to fool Chicago White Sox slugger Dewayne Wise — and Hallion — with a pitch in the eighth inning that caught the outside corner for strike three. Price's body language showed he was upset by the call and this, as reported in the Tampa Times, is what happened next:

According to Price, he was walking off the field after the seventh inning of what was then a 3-3 game when Hallion — with no provocation — "yells at me to throw the ball over the f-ing plate."

Hallion, informed by a pool reporter of Price's accusation, denied adamantly that he used a curse word.

"I'll come right out bluntly and say he's a liar," Hallion said, voice raised. "I'm denying what he said I said, pretty strongly. … I'm just telling you, he's lying. It's plain and simple."

And Price responded to that denial by maintaining that Hallion was the one lying, and pointed to the reaction of his teammates — including the unlikely ejection of normally mild-mannered Jeremy Hellickson — as proof.

"I don't know what he thinks he heard, you can ask anybody that was sitting in the dugout and they all erupted as they should have when you hear an umpire speak to a player that way," Price said. "Something has to be done about that, and that's why I told you guys (the media).

And then he told the world on Twitter:

So, which side do you have in this rhubarb? Southern gentleman David Price and his lovable French bulldog? Or the mean umpire? As Marc Topkin points out in the Times, Hallion was suspended three games for bumping a player — albeit in 1999 — so a temper is part of his record. Hallion acknowledges that Price didn't say anything to him after the debatable pitch was thrown, but that his "body language" insinuated his was angry.

And even if Hallion simply shouted to him "Just throw the ball," hold on a second. In what other sport do the officials get to pick fights with the players?

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