Another chapter in Major League Baseball’s greatest rivalry in 2022 — pitting the players and managers against the umpires — was written on Wednesday.

The Oakland Athletics were hosting the Houston Astros. In the eighth inning, Oakland’s A.J. Puk was pitching against Houston’s Yordan Alvarez and threw what appeared to be strike three. Only, home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski called the pitch a ball. A’s manager Mark Kotsay argued the call, though he did stay in the dugout. Muchlinski did not take Kotsay’s objections lying down.

Two pitches later, Puk hit Alvarez with a pitch. Kotsay then went out to the mound for a conference, which ran long. When Muchlinski went out to the mound to break the conference up, Kotsay appeared to say something to him and was promptly ejected.

The umpires have been heavily scrutinized by fans throughout the season. This incident was no different.

Viewing this ejection in a vacuum, this is actually one of the easier ones to defend from the umpire’s perspective. First of all, it was a manager, not a player. Ejecting a player can severely mess a team up for not only that game but potentially for games going forward, especially if it’s a pitcher. With a manager, not so much.

Also, Kotsay was likely looking to get tossed. As was made clear during the dispute before the ejection, Kotsay had yelled at Muchlinski twice. He was probably not happy with the strike zone throughout the day and wanted to vent. Kotsay would not be the first manager or coach to intentionally let a conference at the mound run long to get a chance to yell at the umpire.

But while this may be a relatively defensible bad ejection, it’s still a bad ejection.

First of all, while wasn’t as blatant as some other misses that we’ve seen this season, Kotsay appeared to be correct about the call that he was arguing.

Secondly, even if Muchlinski’s call was 100% correct and Kotsay was completely in the wrong, why do MLB umpires have such rabbit ears? For all of their flaws, NFL referees don’t react this way to the arguments they hear arguments from the coaches all game. Frequently, those arguments are coming from a coach standing within arm’s reach. Why can they let that go in one ear and out the other, while MLB umpires are too thin-skinned to hear an argument from a few dozen feet away?

Muchlinski’s reaction to Kotsay arguing from the dugout is what started this entire thing. And he did something to Kotsay that umpires say you should never do to them. He showed Kotsay up. Kotsay was arguing the call but he wasn’t making a scene about it. Muchlinski’s reaction is what did that.

This ejection wasn’t as bad as some that we’ve seen in MLB and Minor League Baseball this season — but it did not need to happen. And as more incidents like this and blatant missed calls occur, the calls for Robot Umpires will only increase. If the umpires want to stem those calls, incidents like this need to vanish.

[Welcome to the Ump Show, A’s on NBCS, Matt Kawahara]

About Michael Dixon

Michael is a writer and editor for The Comeback Media. Fan of most sports, nerd when it comes to sports history. Bay Area based for now. Likely leaving sometime early in 2023.

Other loves include good tacos, pizza and obscure Seinfeld quotes.

Feel free to voice your agreements or disagreements. If you do so respectfully, Michael will gladly respond in kind.

Twitter: @mfdixon1985
Email: mdixon@thecomeback.com