Not long after Major League Baseball suspended him for five games for arguing with umpire Rob Drake and spraying spittle on him, a report from South Florida said Molina got into a fight there with teammate Gerald Laird(notes). Catchers in a row, you might call it.
Hopefully for the sake of Laird's face, Molina (far right) controlled his saliva glands this time.
The dispute happened late Wednesday night after the St. Louis Cardinals arrived for a series against the Florida Marlins, reports Craig Mish of Sirius/XM Fantasy Sports Radio. He broke the story in four Twitter messages:
I am told two Stl #Cardinals players had a fight tonight. Had to be broken up by team. Heard it was ugly.
Was between Molina and Laird from what I was told.
I was also told Laird called Molina a "cheater" with what context I'm uncertain
Cardinals GM John Mozeliak — who must have loved hearing about this after his team dropped two of three games in a heated series at Milwaukee — confirmed with Tim McKernan of InsideStl.com that Molina and Laird had "a disagreement."
"[B]oys will be boys," Mozeliak said.
Sounds like he's got a firm grip on the situation.
Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch added a few details, including:
• The "animated argument" happened at the team's hotel.
• No punches were thrown — reportedly.
• Manager Tony La Russa did not comment, but did conduct a team meeting Thursday before the Cardinals beat the Marlins 7-4 without Molina, who began serving the suspension.
In the meeting, La Russa might have asked Molina why he seems to want to take on the whole world lately. If the incident with the umpire hadn't happened about 24 hours earlier, the scrap with Laird wouldn't have mattered much, if at all. But the Cards need Molina to control his temper better than he's doing it.
Mozeliak (pictured) might say he's writing it off as "frustration" and "water under the bridge," but he's got to be worried about Molina going bonkers. The Cardinals don't have endless room for error in the NL Central race.
Neither Molina nor Laird have commented yet about their fight, and maybe they won't, which means we won't get to hear exactly how Molina is "a cheater." It's probably at cards — ballplayers love to play cards to pass the time. But it's reasonable to say that Molina allowing himself to get into a fight with Laird despite a league suspension looming shows more poor judgment. Not that Laird has a spotless history regarding his own behavior.
In a statement responding to his punishment, Molina apologized for arguing with Drake, saying he didn't purposely spit on him, but takes full responsibility for his actions... yadi, yadi, yadi. It's not simple contrition on his part. By serving his suspension immediately and not drawing out the appeal process, Molina would miss only one game against the Brewers when the teams play in St. Louis next week.
Hopefully, a reporter asks Molina and Laird about their quarrel, if only to confirm who was cheating whom, at what, and for how much.