Yorvit Torrealba just did his career an untold amount of damage with one stupid act. This wasn’t even an explainable blunder like Delmon Young flinging his bat and seeing it hit the home plate ump in a Triple A game—it’s hard to imagine Young having intended to hit the umpire with his bat.
Bumping an umpire is tolerated as part of an argument in which both men are heated, but to raise one’s hand to the umpire whether it’s in the minors, Venezuela or anywhere else is poison to one’s reputation.
What makes it worse is that Torrealba is well-liked in baseball.
The bond between umpires is strong and that this happened in Venezuela won’t matter to the big league umpires when they see it; this is going to cost Torrealba when he begins playing in the big leagues in 2012 and forever more.
Many umpires see the separation between themselves and players as something similar to the police and society—us against them. Some are friendlier than others, but there’s a palpable separation between the communities.
Torrealba can apologize; suspending or expelling him won’t do much good since the season in Venezuela is almost over, but that won’t matter; the damage has been done.
This is going to follow him everywhere he goes and it’s never going away.