Matheny upset over ump showing up Cards
CHICAGO -- There wasn't anything fake about Mike Matheny's confrontation with home-plate umpire Dan Bellino on Thursday night at Wrigley Field following a 3-0 loss to the Cubs.
The Cardinals' manager was ejected for vehemently confronting Bellino about a gesture Matheny considered to be a case of showing up one of his players. After Matt Adams was called out on strikes to start the ninth, he said something to Bellilno as he walked away. Bellino removed his mask and waved at Adams to return to the bench, which drew Matheny's ire.
Matheny said he's already spoken with Major League Baseball officials to explain his side of the altercation.
"Maybe that's just me, but I know a lot of guys who feel the same way," he said. "If a pitcher [of mine] shows up a position player, he's going to be in my office and it's going to be a heated conversation, because I just don't think there's any room for it.
"We've all got to be pulling in the same direction, and if I feel like one of our guys is disrespecting or showing up the opposition, I believe that's the ultimate sin of the game. That's just how I was taught the game and I believe that's what happened last night -- and it just didn't need to happen."
Matheny hoped to speak with Bellino prior to Friday's game to clear the air and move past the incident.
"I had Minor League managers tell me [about it] early on," said Matheny, a former Major League catcher. "I had a pitcher show somebody up and they said, 'That's your job to take care of … you go find him.' And I found a guy on a toilet one time. That's the honest-to-goodness truth. They wanted me to go find him right then, so I found him."
The point was also driven home to Matheny at Spring Training one year when he was still a prospect.
"I had a manager tell me that I needed to go find a veteran pitcher," he said. "He told me I needed to go confront him and tell him that if he ever did that again it wasn't going to be good. I was up there shaking when I was telling it to him, but I told him. I think, for one, the manager wanted to see if I'd do it, and two, I think he wanted to teach me this lesson. You just don't let stuff like that happen."
Coming to the defense of the player who gets shown up, on the other hand, can have a strong effect on the team as a whole.
"If you know the other guys got your back that creates an atmosphere where you start talking about chemistry -- I think that's the ultimate," Matheny said. "When everybody's got each other's back, you mix in a little talent … that's pretty powerful stuff."