Texas Rangers pitcher Lance Lynn did not have an especially fun time facing the dreaded Yankees Wednesday night. For starters, Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres socked another couple dingers off him, and he got next to no run support, and wound up taking the loss. To make matters worse, home plate umpire Will Little seemed especially determined to replace every ball that had so much as bothered the air near a bat with a fresh ball, which caused the evening to proceed more slowly than Lynn would’ve liked.
So Lynn was doing a fair bit of sighing and eye-rolling. Things came to a head in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Yankees slugger Edwin Encarnación lifted a clean ball harmlessly to left, where it was caught on the fly by Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun. Calhoun threw the ball back to the infield and it made its way to Lynn, who was eager to face the next hitter and get the inning over with. Little, determined to play with only the freshest balls, stepped out onto the infield and insisted that Lynn send the used ball out of play and use a new one. Lynn was more demonstrative than ever, to the point that Rangers manager Chris Woodward felt the need to get involved.
Nothing that happened here was particularly explosive, but I predict you will enjoy it just the same. Little gave a slightly nonsensical explanation for his ball-replacement criteria—the ball he’d just replaced did not hit the ground and also did not go off the end of the bat—which appeared to satisfy Woodward, but which drew the harshest confrontation yet from Lynn, who called out, “We don’t got all fucking night, we’ve got a plane to catch.” What followed was a delightful misunderstanding between two men standing far apart in a noisy stadium:
I know we’re playing together! Hilariously, Little’s misunderstanding of Lynn led to a Lynn misunderstanding of Little:
My favorite part of the sequence is after it’s all over, when Little still isn’t sure exactly what he heard but he has an expression on his face that indicates he knows something rude just happened and he should be angry about it. Here’s a pretty good edit of the whole scene, with helpful captions:
Baseball has definitely reached the most irritable part of the regular season.