During a rainy first inning in Friday night’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez was rung up on a questionable third strike, and let home plate umpire Joe West hear about it.

After getting ahead 3-1, Baez struck out on what appeared to be an inside pitch from Phillies starter Nick Pivetta. He promptly turned toward West to disagree with the call, but the discussion quickly turned into more of a confrontation. Baez walked away and didn’t argue enough to warrant getting tossed, however.

(Image courtesy: Baseball Savant)

Following the game, which wound up being a walk-off loss for the Cubs, Baez didn’t hold back.

“I didn’t think it was a good pitch, and it wasn’t,” he told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune in the clubhouse. “… There’s nothing wrong with asking or talking to umpires and they need to start talking to us like we’re humans, because they’re not. If anybody – it doesn’t have to be them – if anybody doesn’t talk to me with respect, I won’t talk to them with respect either. I didn’t say anything to him and he came to me like I said something wrong. You know, like I said, when someone does that, I can’t control my attitude.”

Baez’s barb with West is the latest in a continued struggle between umpires and players, which seemed to reach a crescendo during the 2017 season when officiating crews took to wearing white wristbands to protest verbal attacks.

While Baez has cooled off enough to fall out of the top-tier of National League MVP candidates, the 25-year-old is in the midst of a career year, posting a remarkable .900 OPS with 29 home runs and 21 stolen bases.

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