Major League Baseball's first-year instant-replay challenge system is draining the game of its emotion.
That's the opinion of St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who was ejected Friday night after umpires didn't overturn a bang-bang call that Matheny had challenged.
Milwaukee's Jean Segura was ruled safe at second on Elian Herrera's bloop single to center in the sixth. Second baseman Kolten Wong almost made a spectacular catch, then quickly retrieved the ball and fired to shortstop Jhonny Peralta on the bag --a tad too late, in the opinion of umpire Will Little.
Four batters later when Matheny removed pitcher Adam Wainwright following a three-run double by Jonathan Lucroy, he said something to Little as he began to walk to the dugout. Little immediately ejected him.
"My whole problem (Friday) night is we've had a couple (of calls) that have been reviewed that didn't seem to go the way we saw it," Matheny said Saturday. "How do you voice your opinion in a game-changing situation? I think we're being asked to take our emotion and frustration and just shelf it. I never heard that part when we started talking about a review process."
Matheny, angry after the Cardinals lost 7-4 on Friday, expressed frustration that a manager has no recourse after he has lost a challenge. Matheny said his comments led to several telephone calls Saturday, although he didn't reveal the identity of the callers.
"Sooner or later, the system has to allow us to be able to say something," Matheny said Friday. "If they're not going to give me the headset to yell at that guy, then it's going to have to be somebody on the field.
"We sit and watch this enough, and I think we've gotten to the point now where we've taken a lot of emotion out of the game where you can't even say anything to these guys without getting tossed out of the game."
Matheny said face-to-face arguing between a manager and an umpire is all but over.
"Here's the problem with that," Matheny said. "These guys in here feed off of what we as a staff do. If they don't believe we're fighting for them, if they don't believe we're defending them --whether it's the strike zone, whether it's the review process --somehow they're getting slighted.
"If they don't see the people that are supposed to be in leadership positions doing something to defend them, we're going to lose this bench and this clubhouse."
Matheny said on-field appearances by the manager, these days, almost always are non-confrontational.
"It's extremely cordial," he said. "I feel like I should bring some tea when I go out. (I say) 'What did you see there?' (The umpire says) 'I don't know. Let's go ask the other guy.' It's bizarre."
Just four of Matheny's 194 challenges this season (21 percent) have been overturned, one coming Saturday. No other manager has a lower percentage on challenges than Matheny. At the other end of the spectrum, Miami manager Mike Redmond is 16-for-21 (76 percent).
"(Friday) night was an example that we see one thing, they see another, and we've got to trust the system," Matheny said.
Matheny remains a strong proponent of the challenge system and believes, ultimately, it will be good for the game.
"All in all, I believe the system's making steps forward," he said. "But the league was very clear early on: 'This isn't going to be perfect. It's going to be a work in progress. There's going to be alterations in the future.' All together, I believe it's good, even though it hasn't been good for us. You just want to see it right."
"This is a pilot season. We're feeling it out as we go."