The latest incident of umpires gone wild occurred Thursday night in Chicago with home plate arbiter Dan Bellino dismissively -- and some would say disrespectfully -- took off his mask and made a sweeping motion with his hand at Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams when the slugger questioned a called strike three.
The play happened to start the ninth inning. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny glared at Bellino throughout the top half of the inning, holding his tongue until the game ended when he left the dugout to give the umpire a piece of his mind.
Bellino immediately ejected Matheny from a game that was already over -- a petty gesture whose only purpose was to lighten the St. Louis skipper's wallet with a fine -- and then left the rest of his crew to deal with the St. Louis skipper as he slinked off the field like a coward.
What was the purpose of Bellino's gesture to shoo away Adams who could be seen on video protesting very mildly about the umpire's call. He seemed to say only "that was inside" and "there's no chance" to Bellino as he walked back to the dugout.
But what would have happened if Adams took offense at Bellino's gesture and returned to the plate? Certainly he would have been ejected. And then things could have gone completely off the rails. Would the umpire have been held accountable for starting a riot. That's highly unlikely.
Baseball continues to allow its umpires to be unprofessional and to incite players into ejections and fines which fuels the fire of their arrogance.
I've said it before and I will say it again: No one pays substantial money for a ticket to professional sports contest to see the umpires or referees. They go to see the players. And anything the officials do to come between the fans and the players or to artificially change the course of contests damages the sport.
Eventually MLB needs to get tough and crack down on these umpire shenanigans.