I didn’t see this happen and can’t find video, but Jeff S., a reader and HBT correspondent, alerts me to something that happened in last night’s Dodgers-Marlins game.
In the fifth inning, Yasiel Puig struck out. Strike two was a bad call. After the call and after the strikeout, Puig didn’t say a word to home plate umpire John Hirschbeck. He rolled his eyes and showed some displeasure as he walked, but barely turned his head. No biggie, right? Small beer in the grand scheme of players being upset at umpires’ calls?
Except then Hirschbeck ripped off his mask and yelled at Puig, apparently trying to goad him into an angry reaction.
Why are umps allowed to jaw at players and managers? If the player gets out of line, sure, eject them. But when someone merely rolls their eyes or notes his disapproval with a call — and when the player is all the way back to the dugout — why shouldn’t the ump be expected to keep doing his job and ignore it? What possible reason does Hirschbeck have for staring down Puig like this?
It has nothing to do with his authority being undermined. Indeed, by not reacting at all to the player, the umpire would be showing him that his authority is not even subject to being questioned.
Maybe that’s harder than it sounds, but it’s what the goal should be.