Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler and manager Brad Ausmus were both ejected by umpire Angel Hernandez in the top of the fifth inning of Monday night’s game against the Rangers. Here’s what went down:
Kinsler, who wasn’t happy with Hernandez’s strike zone that evening, looked back at Hernandez after a pitch that was way out of the strike zone was called a ball. You can imagine the implication. Hernandez immediately ejected Kinsler. Ausmus was ejected just as quickly when he came out to defend his player.
Kinsler followed up with the media about the situation on Tuesday. Per MLB.com’s Jason Beck, Kinsler hasn’t heard anything from Major League Baseball about the incident. Kinsler then said, “It has to do with changing the game. He’s changing the game. He needs to find another job. He really does.” He added, “I’m just saying it’s pretty obvious that he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”
He’s not wrong. Hernandez has been notorious over the years for having a short leash and ejecting players and managers certainly does influence the outcome of the game. It’s impossible to say that the Tigers would have won Monday’s game if Kinsler had taken three more at-bats instead of Dixon Machado, but the Tigers would certainly rather have him at the plate.
There is a power imbalance between umpires and players. It’s a tight rope to walk between anarchy and a dictatorship because players who fear no repercussions can step on umpires the same way umpires are stepping on them now. But a player giving an umpire a look, even having a few words with an umpire, over a strike zone judgment shouldn’t result in an ejection. Fans pay to see players like Kinsler play and umpires like Hernandez rob them of that opportunity. Perhaps we could have the rules outline specific behaviors that will result in an ejection, lessening the one-sided power that umpires currently hold. Hurting an umpire’s ego shouldn’t be grounds for an ejection.