It's absolutely ridiculous that Major League Baseball decided to hand St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina a one-game suspension Tuesday for his part in an altercation with Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo.
And by "his part" I mean the bit where Molina reacted to Lovullo pointing at him and repeatedly calling the St. Louis receiver a multi-syllabic swear word. By the time that happened, the Arizona skipper had already been ejected from the game. I guess the logic is that Molina made physical contact with the home plate umpire while trying to get at Lovullo. But the ump publicly said after the game that he had no problem with the fact that Molina brushed up against him as he tried to go around — and that he would have reacted the same way if someone would have cursed at him that way.
So, if the person in the middle of fracas didn't think Yadi did anything wrong, how can that decision be over-ruled? Who could have possibly had a better vantage point? If Yadi gets a game off, Lovullo should miss a week — at least.
It's an insult that Lovullo and Molina both received the same suspension. I believe the Diamondbacks manager was intent on getting Molina tossed out of the game to give his team an advantage. First, the name he called Molina — which the catcher confirmed and anyone watching the game on TV could decipher with no formal training in lip reading — was so out of line it was ridiculous. Molina stepped aside as Lovullo ran out to argue balls and strikes so he had no part in the beef whatsoever. Yet, in front of all the fans behind home plate, Lovullo let the swear words fly and pointed accusingly at Yadi until he got an initial reaction — and then he did it AGAIN to try to seal the deal. Once he got Molina lathered up, Lovullo put his hands up in a plea of innocence reminiscent of the way a National Hockey League player or a professional wrestler acts after a cheap shot when the official isn't looking.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Because of Lovullo's intentional efforts to incite a riot, someone could have been hurt and, at the very least, fans who paid good money for tickets could have been robbed of watching players they wanted to see if there were mass ejections following a fight. All Molina did was defend himself against a slur that he couldn't be expected to absorb without consequences.
So Lovullo gets suspended for one game and manages from the clubhouse with no consequences. The Cardinals will be forced to play a game without a second catcher and will be at risk of being unable to compete if the team's backup receiver happens to be injured during the game. It doesn't seem to add up to an equitable situation to me.
Not that I am in favor of physical violence. But if the umpire would have let Yadi get by him and pop Lovullo in the mouth a time or two after what he said, I'm pretty sure the Arizona manager wouldn't do the same thing twice. Instead, MLB let a coward poke a bear through the bars of his cage and walk away unscathed. And that's going to only embolden Lovullo to pull a similar stunt in the future.
While Cardinals trolls are quick to twist the facts and try to blame Molina for the situation that happened against Arizona, I'm proud that the St. Louis catcher is willing to stand up for his club and for himself. If the rest of the Cardinals had any fire in them, they'd rally around Molina and get their act together. But, so far, there have been no signs of that happening any time soon.