COMMENTARY | St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, with two on and two out in the third inning, blasted a ball deep in the hole between second and third. San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford made an incredible diving play to knock the ball down and then threw the slow-footed Molina out by half a step. Crawford's play certainly was a web gem extraordinaire and should be recognized, but unfortunately it is an after-thought in this story.
As Molina stepped past first base, without looking or make a gesture towards first base umpire Clint Fagan, he threw his helmet to the ground in disgust and within a second, Fagan ejected Molina from the game.
Stunned, Molina initially did not react, but eventually went into an unfortunate on-field tirade that ended with his manager Mike Matheny being ejected as well. Matheny had confronted Fagan for all of three seconds before he too was sent to the showers.
After the game, Molina explained that he knew he was out and that he was frustrated that he did not come through after he thought he had a base hit.
Matheny also spoke after the game and vehemently and candidly voiced his displeasure on how the situation was handled by Fagan.
As for Fagan, he did not speak to reporters after the game. Nobody ever heard his side of the story because as Brian Stull of 101sports.com explained, rookie umpires are not required to speak with reporters after the game.
All umpires and referees should be required to speak with reporters after professional sporting events. In all sports, including baseball, football, basketball and hockey, officials who can change or alter the outcome of games should have to answer the tough questiosn regarding their decisions. Officials of all tenure and experience levels should have to hold their own post-game interviews with reporters to give their side of an incident or event.
In today's age of digital and social media, content creation and non-stop constant coverage, umpires should be required to answer the tough questions, just like the athletes.
Molina and Matheny responded to reporter's questions after the game. Why shouldn't Fagan?
Crew chief Tim Welke and second-base umpire Mike Everritt did manage to give a few quotes to Rick Hummell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the game, but there was nothing from Fagan, who had the quick trigger and inexplicably ejected Molina for tossing equipment out of personal frustration.
Molina should have been frustrated with himself. He did not hustle out of the box. His first three steps were not at 100 percent which is why he was out in the first place.
But Molina also should not be throwing helmets. As role models for young children who need to learn to play the game the right way, Molina and his teammates and peers should restrain themselves from tossing equipment and throwing tantrums, even when they are out of personal disgust.
But that does not excuse Fagan for making a bogus and irresponsible decision to toss Molina from the game.
When an umpire makes a mistake, he should have to own up to it and answer the tough questions from the media, like Jim Joyce did when he messed up Armando Galarraga's perfect game bid with a horrible call with two outs in the ninth inning.
Umpires have a lot of power in the game of baseball and because of that power, they should be held accountable by the media too.
Everything about the play on Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium was unfortunate. Molina should have hustled out of the box. Molina should not have thrown his helmet. Molina should not have gone on a tirade after learning he had been tossed.
A lot of things should not have happened. But we should have heard from Fagan directly regarding this incident and we should hear from more umpires in the future as these types of events occur.
You can follow Rudd on Twitter @CoreyRudd.
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