Major League Baseball's umpires are used to taking verbal beatings from players, managers, the media and fans in every stadium across both leagues. That just comes along with the territory. But I'm pretty sure they didn't sign up for some of the physical beatings they're taking on the field of as late.
Poor Brian Gorman was the latest victim, taking a deflected grounder off the bat of Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena right smack in the chops during the eighth inning of the Rays' 5-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday afternoon. And we're not talking about a routine roller that took a bad hop. This ball was well struck and ticketed for the right-field corner if Royals' first baseman Eric Hosmer wasn't playing right on the line.
And even though Hosmer was positioned perfectly, he was still unable to handle the hot smash cleanly and really only managed to change its direction. Instead, it was Gorman's face that ultimately knocked the ball down, leaving a small cut above his upper lip but thankfully sparing his teeth and nose.
Have a look at the unfortunate deflection that bloodied the veteran umpire:
Gorman was treated on the field and able to finish out the game. But I don't know, folks. A couple more shots like this one and another broken bat to the jaw like Jerry Layne endured last Friday, and it might be the umpires themselves who are calling for robots to replace them.