Although home plate umpire, Dan Bellino, was 100% correct in calling that high-and-inside pitch to Matt Adams strike three, he clearly crossed the line when dealing with the unhappy Cardinals first baseman.
The pitch that caused such a ruckus came in the top of the ninth inning when the Cardinals were looking to mount a comeback. Kevin Gregg, Cubs closer, threw a tailing fastball that just caught the inside corner for strike three–leaving the Cardinals with just two outs to come back from the 3-0 deficit.
Adams, clearly upset with the call, voiced his displeasure to Bellino, but soon thereafter started walking towards the dugout. After taking a few steps, he turned to voice one more complaint which led to Bellino removing his mask and shoo-ing Adams away.
Mr. Bellino, I think Adams deserves a little more respect than that. You are a professional umpire, and Adams is a professional baseball player. The Cardinals had an extremely frustrating night, and as a fierce competitor, it is only natural for Adams to complain about a call, especially with the game on the line.
The biggest point that needs to be made is that Adams came nowhere close to crossing the line with his reaction. He instinctively voiced his displeasure without using profanities and then was on his way back to the dugout. After re-watching the scene via DVR, it appears that Adams said, “No chance.” After taking a few steps towards the dugout, he followed with, “That ball was inside.” Now, Bellino, was what Adams said really that bad?
Bellino is a Major League Umpire who should know that it is his responsbility to respect the players, event the rookies. I can understand that if Adams came after him and was in his face, then sure, Bellino has every right to stick up for himself. However, Adams did not do this.
Well, when Jon Jay flew out to Alfonso Soriano to end the game, Fox Sports Midwest showed manager, Mike Matheny, screaming at Bellino. Matheny was immediately ejected (can you even do this after the game is already over?), and he had to be restrained by the rest of the umpiring crew. This left the broadcasters speculating at what made Matheny so irate.
The situation was cleared up in Matheny’s post-game interview. When asked about the ejection, Matheny bluntly said, “…he mistreated one of our players…how he handled Adams.” He then followed by saying the umpire did all of this “as [Adams] was walking away.” Lastly, he said that the umpire just “wanted to be seen.”
So far in his young managing career, Matheny has proven that he is not afraid to tell the media how he really feels. It is situations like tonight that show how much Matheny stands up for his players. It takes a lot to make Matheny as mad as he was tonight, so Major League Baseball really needs to look into this incident.
Sure, Matheny will most likely be fined for his comments, but Bellino needs to be held accountable for his actions as well. In no way should a professional umpire ever shoo away a player like Bellino did to Adams tonight.
As an umpire, it is better if fans do not know your name. However, because of tonight’s situation, Dan Bellino has officially become a household name in St. Louis. All I can say is that Bellino is really lucky that the games are in Chicago because if they were in St. Louis, he would definitely be hearing it from the fans for the rest of the series.
MLB, for as much as you hold your players accountable for their actions, you really need to start applying those same standards to your umpires.
Until next time…
According to UEFL Portal, Bellino has had 15 ejections in just three seasons as an MLB umpire. Thus, after this latest incident, it really appears as if something needs to be done.
- Matheny: Umpire disrespected one of my players (kmov.com)
- Matheny Ejected in Cards 3-0 Loss to Cubs (fox2now.com)
- Bernie Bytes: Umpire Bellino has hothead rep (stltoday.com)