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To toss or not to toss; that is the question

June 5, 2013

Intense emotion and frustration has been a part of all sports since the beginning of time. Everyone wants to win and no one wants to lose. As for Major League Baseball, the pride that many players take spills over a little far at times.
Armed with a bat and a helmet, players have been known to take out a water cooler or throw some head gear a time or two in the past. While most outbursts lead to ejections more times than not the player should have stayed in the game.
I know there is a rule deep in the MLB rule book that says that any equipment thrown is an ejectable offense. Take that with a grain of salt.
On Sunday, the league’s best catcher, Yadier Molina, was tossed for being mad at himself and slamming his helmet on the ground. The helmet did roll about 15 feet away but was nowhere near hitting anyone or anything.
Without saying a word, Molina was ejected by first base umpire Clint Fagan leading to an outcry from Molina as he had to be restrained by his brother and first base coach Benji leading to an undisclosed fine and one-game suspension. But should he have been tossed?
Did he do anything to show up the umpire or say anything that was demeaning or hurtful before the ejection? No, no and no.
Upset that he did not run hard out of the box and was narrowly thrown out at first during a crucial moment of the game, Molina slammed his helmet in disgust before heading to the dugout. It was the third out and the inning was over so there was no delay until the ejection.
Players toss bats and gloves and helmets all of the time and don’t get tossed. Some umpires come into games looking to be that guy that throws out a superstar. When the time arises, the finger goes up and the player takes a seat in the clubhouse. This the case with Molina. A player that never shows mad emotion or gives the umpires grief.
Take Bo Jackson for example. During his stint with Kansas City the stud of an athlete broke numerous bats over his leg and his head. What is the difference?
Boston Red Sox star Jacoby Ellsbury was tossed for throwing his helmet to the dugout after striking out and the umpire didn’t even see the action.
Umpires in today’s league jump at any reason to throw out a player. Especially this year with all of the missed calls on their parts fueling the fire. Ian Desmond was ejected for arguing a call at third base after he was wrongfully called safe in a game by veteran Joe West.
Now how in the world are you going to get mad at a guy for being upset that you missed a call in the first place? It’s not reviewable and the other three umpires on the field can’t even see third, more or less know if his foot left the bag. You missed it so deal with it. Don’t use your power as an official to toss a player for something you messed up.
Look at the Cardinals’ game from last night (Tuesday). Matt Holliday strikes out to end an inning and snaps his bat in the batter’s box and not even a warning. I don’t think he should have gotten anything anyway, but to me that was the same thing that Molina did, just with a different piece of equipment.
Now while nearly 200 ejections or more are handed down each year, many deserve to be tossed. Jermaine Dye for example. Not only was he arguing balls and strike, which is an umpire’s most hated part of the game, but he also cussed the umpire and threw his helmet down behind him which ultimately bounced up and hit the not so nice area of the umpire during.
Cup or not, it still hurts.
Barry Bonds got tossed for using the “F” word numerous times during his roid-raging years after also arguing balls and strikes at the dish.
Now those are rightfully justified ejections. But Molina slamming his helmet on the ground, not making a peep or even being mad at the umpire was not justified in my book.
There were 178 ejections in 2012. There has already been 60 player/mangers sent to the showers this season.
The game is meant to be played with tons of emotion. Once that is taken away, the game is lost. Let these guys play ball. Fans come to the park to see the player, not the umpires.

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