I'm trying to figure out if there's something changing in baseball, or if it's just coincidence. In the last 12 months, I've seen six batters (four college-age, two HS-age) draw lines after a called strike in games where I've been involved (including one in the first inning of a DH yesterday.) Prior to that, there was one. Thinking about this clip and some online discussions about it in which a significant number of comments reflected an ignorance of this being an automatic ejection, I'm wondering if a lot of cultural knowledge is being lost when it comes to how players understand what they can and can't do when it comes to disagreement.
I started umpiring in 1995 as a kid working LL games. Thankfully, the internet was taking off and I had the ability to network with umpires of all levels around the country. That's how I became aware of how the profession was changing as a result of the culture of baseball changing. At that time, there were things like the f***-you call in lieu of ejection on players arguing balls or strikes, the confrontational aspect of gamesmanship, less institutional instruction and more word-of-mouth networking and inculcation, and the like. I, for one, am much more comfortable with the profession as it is today, with formal education, evaluation, and synergy among all participants. Parts of it are annoying (every coach requesting that we get help on any call they don't like, which would have been unheard of 20 years ago,) but it's part and parcel of evolution.
However, with this new culture, it has been my experience that players have moved from verbally confronting umpires (in which many cases I have some tools to work with, assuming they don't cross a line too quickly) to physically demonstrating displeasure (in which my options are far more limited because everyone can see it.) My player ejections regarding calls (which are far fewer than HC/AC ejections, as it should be) have moved from them telling me that I suck (paraphrased) to almost entirely physical demonstrations.
Does my experience reflect what others are seeing? Am I getting old? Do they need to get off my lawn?