Tigers Manager AJ Hinch Tells Umpire ‘You Made It About You,’ Ump Admits ‘I’m Not Perfect’ During Ejection Argument

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One of the great side plots of any baseball game is the relationship between the players and the umpires. I think I’m uniquely qualified to discuss this, as I umpire high school baseball during the summer. The exchange between Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch and home plate umpire Nic Lentz on Wednesday afternoon is one of the better ones you’ll hear.

Following the strikeout of Tigers batter Eric Haase, Haase stopped to say something to Lentz. It’s unclear what Haase said to Lentz, but Lentz clearly responds, “I’m not perfect back here, you know I’m not.”

That’s just such a great piece of self-assessment and awareness. Lentz is right, he’s not perfect. Although, a peek at MLB.com shows that the strikeout appears warranted.

If anything, Lentz helped Haase out. The first pitch appears to have gotten a piece of the plate, but Lentz called it a ball. The fifth pitch, the strikeout pitch, looks to be in the strike zone.

But Haase didn’t like the call, which set off the events leading to Hinch’s ejection. To avoid Haase getting tossed, Hinch did his job and quickly got to the field to argue on Haase’s behalf.

As a manager, arguing balls and strikes is a sure-fire path to an ejection. Allowing Haase to make a few comments without being tossed actually showed some restraint on Lentz’ part.

Manger AJ Hinch of the Detroit Tigers looks on during batting practice prior to a game.
Manger AJ Hinch of the Detroit Tigers looks on during batting practice prior to a game. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

But Hinch immediately gets the ejection for coming out to argue about the strike zone. During the exchange between the pair, Lentz ackonwledges that he has to eject Hintz for strike zone commentary.

“C’mon, AJ, why you gotta talk about balls and strikes?” Lentz says to the Tigers manager.

“This isn’t about you, but you made it about you,” Hinch fires back.

Watch for yourself and make the call:

Perhaps I’m overly sympathetic to the plight of the umpire, as a fellow member of the club. However, I find it hard to fault Lentz here. The pitch looks to be in the strike zone.

Based on the broadcast pitch locator and the MLB.com version, a robot umpire is calling this pitch a strike, too.

But no one really did anything wrong here. Except, maybe Eric Haase. He’s arguing balls and strikes during an at-bat that the umpire seemingly handled well.

After that, AJ Hinch has to come to the defense of his player. Lentz has to eject Hinch for arguing balls and strikes.

Umpire Nic Lentz walks across the field during a game.
Umpire Nic Lentz. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

I understand the sentiment about “making it about you” — no one showed up to Comerica Park on Wednesday afternoon to watch Nic Lentz umpire a baseball game.

They came to see the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers.

However, Lentz didn’t appear to do anything wrong. He even admitted he’s not perfect and did not engage in a negative fashion with Haase.

I’m on “Team Umpire” for this one.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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