Foul balls? MLB umpire's pro-Trump tweets under investigation

Foul balls? MLB umpire's pro-Trump tweets under investigation

It’s World Series time and while we wait to see if the Houston Astros bounce back or if the Washington Nationals sweep the series, politics has reared its ugly head. In an unusual turn of events, a Major League Baseball (MLB) umpire is under investigation for tweeting support for President Trump.

Rob Drake is a 50-year-old full-time MLB umpire and he has some strong opinions about impeachment. On Tuesday he tweeted about his concerns about a potential upcoming civil war in America if President Trump is impeached. He’s triggered the anti-gun mob by declaring he will purchase a semi-automatic rifle ahead of time.

“I will be buying an AR-15 tomorrow, because if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL [sic] WAR!!! #MAGA2020” is what he tweeted. That tweet has been deleted and his Twitter account has been deactivated. Earlier Tuesday he tweeted out his frustration with the impeachment process underway in the House at the hands of Democrats.

Earlier Tuesday, Drake reacted to the Democratic-led House closed-door impeachment proceedings in an initial tweet writing: “You can’t do an impeachment inquiry from the basement of Capital [sic] Hill without even a vote! What is going on in this country?”

“We have a political party trying to overthrow a president by lying, hiding, creating and manufacturing crimes. Where do we live? This is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! This isn’t Russia, Venezuela, Cuba,” Drake also wrote, according to separate unverified screenshots of his account activity posted by a Twitter user. The screenshots also showed that Drake retweeted messages promoting the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon.

Clearly, Drake is a Trump supporter. Supporting the president is his right but things get tricky on social media. He added to the fire by including his intention of purchasing a weapon and QAnon. Speaking to the press before Game 2 in Houston, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said an investigation is ongoing. Drake isn’t working the post-season games this year.

The president of the MLB hasn’t commented.

Joe West, the president of the Major League Baseball Umpires Association, declined comment when reached by phone.

Drake, 50, made his major league debut in 1999 and has been a full-time major league umpire since 2010. He worked postseason games in 2010 and 2012 through ’15, and was on the crew at the All-Star Game in 2013.

There are ten prohibitions listed in the official MLB social media policy. Reading through the list, it seems the only rule Drake’s tweets would violate has to do with “threat of violence”, though I’d argue that Drake didn’t make a specific threat. His tweet was more about self-protection, which is why people purchase guns. Take a look at the list:

Players can’t make what can be construed as official club or league statements without permission;
Players can’t use copyrighted team logos and stuff without permission or tweet confidential or private information about teams or players, their families, etc.;
Players can’t link to any MLB website or platform from social media without permission;
No tweets condoning or appearing to condone the use of substances on the MLB banned drug list (which is everything but booze, right?);
No ripping umpires or questioning their integrity;
No racial, sexist, homophobic, anti-religious, etc. etc. content;
No harassment or threats of violence;
Nothing sexually explicit;
Nothing otherwise illegal.

That is all pretty basic stuff, right? There isn’t anything about inserting personal political opinions into a Twitter timeline. If we use the guideline above, Drake should be in the clear unless the main problem comes from the AR-15 reference. He didn’t tweet any threats, though. I’m assuming he doesn’t even own one if he’s tweeting about going to buy one if Trump’s impeached. I guess we’ll find out if the MLB organization caves to the delicate gun-grabbers who are triggered by the mere mention of a weapon. The leftists are already describing Drake’s tweets as a call for violence.

I enjoyed this tweet, which lightheartedly mocks all the idiocy of today’s hyper-polarized political atmosphere:

To be perfectly clear, I don’t want politics to seep into sports. I love watching my Houston Astros and the team is loved in Houston. The team won its first ever World Series just two months after Houston was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and the lift to everyone’s morale provided by that win will never be forgotten. I know I’ll never forget it. I don’t even want to know the political opinions of the umpires working the games. I just want them to call balls and strikes. That’s their job. Though I think I have watched at least some of every televised game of the Astros this season, I couldn’t tell you the name of any of the umpires.

I’ll end with a little video clip of superstar Olympic gymnast, Houstonian Simone Biles throwing out the first pitch Tuesday night. The Astro player who receives the pitch is Jake Marisnick.

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