MLB Network analyst and former professional baseball player Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams will take a leave of absence from the television station in the wake of a series of incidents that occurred last weekend at youth baseball tournament in Maryland.
Williams, 49, decided to take a hiatus from his position as MLB Network officials continue to investigate claims that the former big leaguer, who coaches a youth baseball team called the Jersey Wild, ordered one of his players to “bean” an opposing player during a game, the New York Daily News reports.
“Mitch Williams has decided to take a leave of absence from his role at MLB Network at this time,” a spokesperson told the newspaper. “We are continuing to look into the matter.”
It’s unclear if Williams’ alleged actions played a direct role in his decision to take a leave of absence. Ripken Baseball, the youth baseball organization for which Williams is a coach, has yet to address the situation, Deadspin notes.
The beanball incident allegedly occurred during a championship game between Williams’ Jersey Wild and the SJ Titans, the website reports. A video taken during the game’s fifth inning shows Williams talk to his catcher, who then talked to the pitcher, whose first pitch of the inning hit an opposing batter in the ribs.
After the game, Williams reportedly told an opposing assistant coach that he instructed his pitcher to “throw it inside,” but he did not admit to ordering a beanball. Witnesses also told Deadspin that Williams referred to a 10-year-old player as a “pussy” and that he heckled opposing coaches throughout the game.
The May 10 incident was just one example of Williams’ inappropriate behavior during the tournament, eyewitnesses told Deadspin. On May 10, the 11-year MLB veteran was ejected from a game after he allegedly called an umpire a “mother------” during a profanity-laced tirade. The confrontation reportedly caused a 10-minute delay to the game while bystanders physically separated Williams from the umpire.
On May 11, Williams addressed the argument on Twitter. “I was thrown out for laughing at a call. Then [the umpire] threatened to fight me. Said pick a time and place,” he wrote.
“I regret what happened at this weekend’s tournament & apologize,” Williams added on May 12. “I love baseball & coaching. I did not curse at the umpire & will walk away in the future. Again, I apologize.”