Following a string of troubling reports regarding his behavior at a recent youth baseball tournament, the New York Daily News is reporting that Mitch Williams will be taking a leave of absence from his analyst role on MLB Network.
"Mitch Williams has decided to take a leave of absence from his role at MLB Network at this time," an MLB Network spokesperson said in an email to the Daily News. "We are continuing to look into the matter."
This isn't exactly surprising news given the amount of attention Williams' antics have garnered over the past seven days. On Monday, it was reported that Williams was ejected from a Cal Ripken League tournament game played on May 10 after going face-to-face with an umpire and unleashing a profanity-laced tirade. Deadspin then followed up with a report on Friday that had several witnesses agreeing that Williams called an opposing player an unflattering name, and also ordered his pitcher to bean the other team's pitcher during the May 11 tournament championship game.
Ridiculous behavior if completely true or even just partially true, and at this point there appears to be enough information out there that both Williams and MLB Network realize it's time to take a step back and re-evaluate the directions they're taking.
There's no word on how long Williams' might be gone, but the wording of the e-mail indicates the network is taking the matter seriously. Any speculation beyond that though would be unfair.
With that said, here's hoping that whatever their ultimate resolution is, Williams truly does take a step back and understands what went wrong. We've always known he's an intense guy. We've always known he's a competitive guy. You don't last 11 years in the big leagues without one or both of those characteristics. But if you're going to be around kids and teaching them how to play the game right and handle adversity, those attributes have to be eliminated or at least muted.
For some people that's easier said than done, but what took place with Williams can't be tolerated and hopefully won't be any longer. That's not to say Williams shouldn't get another chance either. A lot can be learned from Williams based on his experiences in baseball, but maybe even more could be gained if he somehow turns this negative into a positive and returns with a better perspective and a calmer demeanor.
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