Today was baseball day. After a good breakfast with some great friends we headed down to the ball park. It was a beautiful day for baseball. And it was one hell of a game. The Cubs got 7 runs in the second inning, which in most cases would mean smooth sailing. But for a Cubs/Cards game, you can't predict anything. There's a reason that the rivalry between these teams is as big as it is. They feed off of each other, when one team plays well, the other somehow takes off and steps it up a notch more. The Cardinals fought their way back, and thanks to some fairly poor relief pitching on our part, they got the lead. It was good baseball. It's why I watch the game.
And then, at the end of the top of the ninth inning, things got a little strange. Yadier Molina was up, and the bat went sailing out of his hand down the first base line. The next pitch... his bat went flying out of his hands again, this time towards the pitcher's mound. It seems strange to me that a professional ball player would lose control of the bat like that twice in a row. Not to say that it looked like he threw the bat at the Cubs players. It really did look like he just plain lost his grip on it. Our pitcher, Hawkins, apparently had some questions for the umpire about this, and while everything appeared to be civil at first, it quickly escalated and Hawkins was being bodily dragged off the field by Dusty Baker and others from the Cubs dugout. At one point it even appeared that Hawkins made an attempt to take a swing at the ump. This, of course, was very, very stuipd and Hawkins deserves at least a fine, if not a suspension. I in no way condone the idea of players in any way threatening the umps. But... But... why in the hell do the umps follow a player in that situation to the dugout? Why, when the player is clearly being removed by their own team mates, is it okay for the ump to continue to get in the player's face? If the ump stayed at the plate, the situation would have been over. Hawkins would have been in the clubhouse, the ump would have been on the field and the game could go on. But not only the home plate ump, but the other three were on the dugout side of the third baseline, two of them right in with the Cubs team members who were trying to get Hawkins off the field, the other two stalking up and down in front of the Cubs dugout, glaring into the dugout. At least that's how it appeared to me in the stands. Still... I've never heard of an ump being fined or suspended for fighting. If a player touches an ump the player is automatically suspended, but there doesn't seem to be anything to prevent the umps from following a player and instigating the fighting. To use a cliche, with great power comes great responsibility. On a babseball diamond, the umpires' power is unquestionable. But with that power, is there not a responsibility to do whatever they can to diffuse a situation, not prolong it?
Obviously, I was not on the field, I did not hear what was being said. But from my point of view, the situation could have been better handled if the ump had just walked away... or even just stood still. It's crazy.
After this interlude, the bottom of the ninth progressed to get our hopes up and then cruely dash them upon the rocks of reality. But as a Cubs fan, I've learned to roll with those punches. During the game, I found out that I'll also be able to go to the game on Thursday.
After the game, we decided that ice cream was needed to soothe the pain of the loss (actually, since I went to the game with TBWITWW, and two White Sox fans, I guess I'm the only one with pain to soothe), so we headed to the Diner around the corner. Where I had buffalo wings and a rootbeer float. (also consumed were a milkshake, a banana split, some assorted fried food and a hot fudge sundae). So, despite the loss... it was a good day.