Winters in 2011
|Born: November 19, 1958|
|July 9, 1988|
|Career highlights and awards|
Michael John Winters (born November 19, 1958) is an umpire in Major League Baseball who has worked in the National League from 1988 to 1999 and throughout both major leagues since 2000, wearing number 33. For the 2011 season, Winters was named a crew chief following the retirements of Jerry Crawford, Mike Reilly, and Chuck Meriwether.
He umpired in the minor leagues from 1982 to 1989 before joining the NL's regular staff in 1990. Winters has worn uniform number 33 his entire career. He has officiated the All-Star Game in 1995, 2007, 2010, and 2016, the Division Series in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2018, the League Championship Series in 1997, 2004, 2008, 2011, and 2012, and the 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2015 World Series. He was crew chief for the Division Series in 1998, 1999, 2014, and 2018.
On September 23, 2007, Winters was accused of "baiting" San Diego Padres outfielder Milton Bradley in a game against the Colorado Rockies. When Bradley came to the plate in the eighth inning, plate umpire Brian Runge asked him if he had thrown his bat toward Runge following a strikeout in the fifth inning. Bradley denied having done so and asked Runge if Winters had told him that. Runge said Winters had not. After reaching first base, Bradley asked Winters if he had told Runge that Bradley had thrown his bat toward Runge, and Winters told him that he had indeed thrown his bat. Bradley began arguing about the allegation, and Winters replied that he should "shut the fuck up and play the game," whereupon Bradley continued to argue and complained that Winters was "treating him like a piece of shit." Winters reportedly replied that Bradley was a "fucking piece of shit," after which Bradley lunged at Winters and tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee while being restrained by manager Bud Black. Bradley later called Winters' reaction "the most unprofessional and most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. It's terrible. And now, because of him, my knee's hurt." Three days later, Major League Baseball suspended Winters for the remainder of the 2007 season due to his aiming a profanity at Bradley. Without one of their big bats for the final week, San Diego missed the playoffs via a tiebreaker game.
Former Giants player Charlie Hayes also accused Winters of telling him to "go fuck himself" after Hayes was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in a June 1998 game, after which Hayes had to be restrained by then manager Dusty Baker. Winters denied that he had said that.
On June 28, 2007, Winters was at second base when Toronto Blue Jay Frank Thomas hit his 500th career home run off Minnesota Twins pitcher Carlos Silva. Later in the game, Thomas was ejected by plate umpire Mark Wegner for arguing balls and strikes, with Toronto manager John Gibbons also getting thrown out.
Winters served as one of three MLB umpire representatives for the November 2014 MLB Japan All-Star Series.
Winters was chosen as the crew chief in the 2017 American League Wild Card Game.