St. Louis Cardinals: What to take away from yesterday

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 02: Manager Torey Lovullo
PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 02: Manager Torey Lovullo /

The St. Louis Cardinals wrapped up a series with the Diamondbacks and while there weren’t a lot of home runs there were certainly some fireworks.

In the second inning of Sunday’s St. Louis Cardinals game, A.J. Pollock came to bat. By this point most everyone knows how that at bat went down, he struck out. Whether it was a good frame job or Tim Timmons perpetuating what was one of the most absurd strike zones in recent memory over the weekend, he struck out.

Regardless, Torey Lovullo took offense. Fellow writer Dan Campbell covered this to an extent in his game recap, here.

There’s nothing really surprising about a manager arguing with an umpire, it happens. For the most part it’s pretty exciting. The fans get behind it, the team sees the fire, and it can have good effects. What we saw yesterday though, was different. It was clear that Lovullo had a problem with more than just the umpire very soon into the altercation.

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While screaming his point at Timmons, Lovullo gestured at Yadier Molina, multiple times. It was clear he wasn’t saying things that friendships are made of. Per reports Lovullo was quoted as saying, “You can’t let that (expletive) make balls into strikes”. While I can’t print the actual term he used, you could probably guess or have probably already seen it.

Molina after hearing what was being said understandably became enraged. While we may never know what would have happened if Tim Timmons wasn’t in the exact spot he was in, it’s safe to assume the team would have been without Molina for an extended period of time.

Based on comments from the umpire crew yesterday, it would seem unlikely that Molina will miss any time due to this incident. Of course he could use a day off anyways.

What I think was most interesting about the whole debacle was watching Lovullo. Lovullo came in like a bat out of hell, screaming, cursing and pointing, that is until Yadier turned his sights onto him. Lovullo went from tough guy to “I didn’t do anything don’t touch me” faster than a Jordan Hicks fastball.

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Molina was later quoted saying, “If you’re going to call (that) to a guy, you’ve got to be ready to fight.” I don’t think it’s outlandish at all to say that Yadi’s comments are spot on. If you find yourself in a position where someone is pointing right at you and calling you, whether with intent or not what Lovullo called Molina, you are going to react. Tim Timmons seemed to agree, saying that Molina had a natural reaction to Lovullo’s words.

After the game, it gets better. Instead of apologizing, instead of flat out admitting what he did was wrong Lovullo skirted the issue. According to Lovullo he has “a ton of respect” for Molina and that he “didn’t mean those words the way Molina took them.” This is in a word disappointing and that’s probably putting it very lightly.

Torey Lovullo is a manager of a Major League Baseball team, he represents the league, and he represents the Diamondbacks. While I understand heat of the moment and making mistakes, owning that mistake looks a lot better on you and those you represent than making excuses.

None of this is to say Molina isn’t at fault. He obviously could have handled it better. Did he have to charge at Lovullo inciting the benches to clear? Absolutely not, but his defense is a lot more understandable than Lovullo’s defense of “using the wrong term.”

At the end of the day, people will forget about this to an extent. It’s going to be something brought up every time the two teams face off. Highlights will be shown and then cameras will show both Lovullo and Molina on a split screen, it’s fairly predictable.

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The St. Louis Cardinals and Diamondbacks don’t face off again until early July. By that time each of these teams will probably already have another benches clearing incident to make headlines.