Remember when you thought MLB umpires were mature adults? Think again. They’ve been replaced by petulant children.

Petulant children throwing a tantrum in the middle of a toy store, that is. It’s not just a handful of MLB umpires causing a scene—it’s all of them.

The incident the umpires’ union speaks of occurred this past Tuesday, in the fifth inning of a game between the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers. Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez after a called strike that replays showed was clearly out of the strike zone.

Clearly out of the strike zone might be an understatement. That ball wasn’t anywhere near the strike zone. People who have never watched a baseball game before would call that a ball.

But not Hernandez, who promptly threw Kinsler—and then Tigers manager Brad Ausmus—out of the game. Afterward, Kinsler said getting tossed didn’t surprise him.

“No, I’m surprised at how bad an umpire he is,” Kinsler told Chris McCoskey of the Detroit News. “I don’t know how, for as many years he’s been in the league, that he can be that bad. He needs to reevaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line.”

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“Sure, [I’m speaking on the record]” he continued. “If I get fined for saying the truth, then so be it. He’s messing with baseball games, blatantly.”

Kinsler did get fined—an undisclosed amount. That should have been the end of it all.

Instead, the umpires’ union decided to make a pariah out of Hernandez, who for years has been considered by many to be nothing short of a buffoon behind the plate.

Joe West isn’t exactly considered a bastion of competence himself. Had they used a different spokesmodel, perhaps people would be taking this “protest” more seriously. But I doubt it.

Saying that someone stinks at their job doesn’t amount to a “verbal attack.” It’s called criticism, and it comes with the territory when you’re an umpire or an official in any sport. Especially when such a statement can be demonstrably proven, as in this case.

Want to know what a “verbal attack” sounds like? Go ask Baltimore outfielder Adam Jones, who was the target of racist taunts at Boston’s Fenway Park earlier this season. Or any black player who has to play in Boston, as New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia explained to Newsday‘s Erik Boland.

Those are verbal attacks. Despicable, ugly, cowardly actions by truly ignorant folks. Had those same fans chanted “you suck” or something similar at Jones or Sabathia, that’d be written off as heckling.

Was Kinsler out of line with his comments? Perhaps. Hernandez certainly has a right to be upset. Nobody likes getting called out, especially in the media.

Human error has always been a part of the game, and commissioner Rob Manfred plans on keeping it that way. But Hernandez should be adult enough to admit that he made a mistake. Clearly, neither he nor his fellow umpires are—or believe that they should.

To be clear, the union isn’t exactly united on this issue, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times pointed out Saturday.

But the vast majority seem to be on board with this plan. So go ahead and wear your wristbands. It’s not going to stop those around baseball from criticizing when it’s deserved.

If anything, it’s only going to increase the criticism—and fuel the narrative that umpires are hellbent on becoming a spectacle, the reason fans come to the ballpark.

Just like a petulant child that always has to be the center of attention.

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Rick Weiner

I’ve been dunked on by Shaq and yelled at by Mickey Mantle. ESNY Editor In Chief. UMass alum. Former National Columnist w/Bleacher Report & former member of NY Knicks Basketball Ops department. Nephew of Rock & Roll Royalty.