Tuesday night, the second-place St. Louis Cardinals were in Milwaukee, battling the first-place Brewers. Tempers were flaring. Albert Pujols and Ryan Braun were both hit by pitches in the same inning. Pitchers were hitting home runs, fans were screaming ill tidings, both dugouts were ready to charge out onto the field and mill about all angry-like ... it was chaos. Chaos, I tell you.
That's when Yadier Molina snapped. It was like Apocalypse Now meets Bull Durham meets some documentary about a llama or spitting cobra or something.
The Cardinals catcher took a called third strike in the top of the tenth inning, and he disagreed with the umpire's call. He expressed his disagreement in a manner that is not consistent with the rules of Major League Baseball
When you can use the phrase "spittle-flecked umpire" in your post-game recap, there's probably going to be a suspension involved. Indeed, Molina went insane after the call, and did a few things he's probably regretting right about now. After he was ejected, he continued to scream from the dugout. Meanwhile, umpire Rob Drake could only wipe the saliva from his face and look back toward the dugout like a wounded fawn.
Jonathan Papelbon was suspended for three games after going sort of nuts on an umpire, and the suspension was reduced to two games on appeal. It wasn't the same level of crazy, though, and there wasn't a whole bunch of spittle going on. Roberto Alomar was suspended five games for intentionally spitting on an umpire, though Yadier's transgression was accidental. That's not a good comp, either.
But Yadier will miss some games, and probably more than two. As tight as the NL Central is, that's no small matter. The Brewers might have lost the game on Tuesday, but they gained a small-yet-notable tactical advantage for the stretch run.
Finally, was the pitch a strike?
Not really. Whoops! Boy, I bet there's egg on that umpire's face.
Wait, that's not egg ...