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MLB should have suspended only Torey Lovullo, not Yadier Molina

Yadier Molina Torey Lovullo fight

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo have both been suspended by MLB for one game over their dramatic confrontation this weekend. Molina has appealed the ruling while Luvollo served the suspension at Tuesday night’s game against the Giants. Jerry Narron managed the game for the Diamondbacks, but Lovullo was apparently somewhere else watching in the stadium. Molina was in the lineup Tuesday for the Cardinals in their home game against the Milwaukee Brewers. He will continue to play while the appeals process takes its course.

The heated incident took place during the second inning of Sunday’s game between the Cardinals and Diamondbacks. Lovullo came out of the dugout to argue a strike-three call on A.J. Pollock. He was accusing Molina of pitch framing. While the Arizona manager was apparently talking to the umpire, he used a gesture and profanity towards Molina. Obviously, the catcher took offense to that and charged at the Lovullo. Molina made contact with umpire Tim Timmons as he was trying to restrain him. The benches cleared, but not much became of it. Lovullo was ejected because of arguing balls and strikes while Molina was allowed to stay in the game.

Rules are rules, but I do not think Yadier Molina is getting a fair shake on this decision. He did go after Lovullo and made contact with an umpire. However, I’d call the contact incidental because the umpire was holding him back from reaching Lovullo. Basically, he was provoked. After the skirmish, the umpires met and agreed that Molina should be allowed to stay in the game. Why? Again, it was because he was provoked by Lovullo who was already ejected from the game. MLB rules state that a manager (or any team member) isn’t allowed to leave the dugout to argue balls and strikes. Lovullo was ejected as soon as he came onto the field to do so.

Molina said after the game that if you call someone the word that Lovullo used, you better be ready to fight. I agree with him. I don’t care if the manager is talking to the umpire or not. He used that word to describe Molina so that’s what he was calling him. Many critics are saying that Molina acted childish in the situation, but I see it more as Lovullo was the one acting childish. Pitch framing is taught at an early age to catchers. In fact, every MLB catcher does it at one point or another. I think it’s perfectly fine to argue with an umpire about it because he should catch on to it. He has that right and wanted to point it out. However, I think Lovullo went about it in the worst way possible. He even admitted it. Lovullo concurred that he used inappropriate wording in that situation.

Yadier Molina Torey Lovullo Fight

Here is where the alleged gesturing and profanity against Molina took place while Lovullo was arguing about strikes and balls.

To be fair, I don’t think that Lovullo meant for his words to be hostile towards Molina. That’s how it was received though and rightfully so. Personally, I’m glad that he chose to appeal the decision and I hope he wins the appeal. St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny stands behind his player and supports his appeal. “I don’t blame him,” Matheny said. “I probably would have done the same thing.”

So we’ll just have to wait and see what Joe Torre and MLB officials decide to rule on Molina, but it seems to me like he’s getting a raw deal. Even if it is just for one game. Umpire Tim Timmons didn’t feel it was necessary to eject Molina from the game and his report was in favor of the catcher. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, MLB managers hopefully will learn what can happen if you use profanity towards a player from an opposing team. It’s often said that MLB players are role models and need to act like a professional. That’s true and it also goes for MLB managers. Feel free to argue all you want, but they need to make sure that they choose their words carefully around opposing players. Especially around a guy like Yadier Molina.