Note of the night/Stat of the day, Sept. 9

Note of the night: Matt Holliday was ejected in the fourth inning on Thursday night after he argued a called third strike, making a bit of a show of it in the process.

Holliday flipped his bat away, walked away demonstratively and took his helmet off before finally flipping his helmet away as well — and that was the final straw that drew the ejection from home plate umpire Mike DiMuro.

I went back and forth on this a little with some people on Twitter, and here’s the truth of the matter: it almost doesn’t matter what Holliday said to DiMuro. You have a better chance of staying in the game if you stand still or walk away demurely while dropping a string of obscenities than you do with theatrical actions like Holliday’s.
In fact, if you watch the video (see the link here), you can clearly read Holliday’s lips as he says, “I didn’t say anything!” after he’s been tossed. But it’s just a truth of the game: making a show of things is a bigger transgression than salty language.
We didn’t get a chance to talk to Holliday after the game, but TLR did address the matter, and he didn’t seem too shocked by the decision.
“There’s a rule that allows you to keep a player in the game, and just [fine] him for the equipment. But DiMuro, he’s a good umpire. That was his good call. I know Matt didn’t curse him. He just questioned the call. But then he walked away and threw it. I think there’s an argument that that’s why that rule is in place. You can just fine him and keep him in the game.”
This really isn’t to pick on Holliday, although it may seem that way. Rather it’s to make a point that players know the rules, and fair or not, they are the rules. Personally, I saw the ejection coming, and I guarantee you that TLR and folks in the Cardinals dugout did too. Doesn’t mean it was the right call, but it wasn’t a surprising call at all — and therefore it would seem that it was avoidable.
Stat of the day: On May 14, Skip Schumaker was at 219/296/273. Since then, he’s batting an even .300 with a .353 on-base percentage and a .396 slugging percentage.
Now, those first six weeks did in fact happen. But that’s more than a half season, 90 team games, in which Schumaker is hitting exactly like you would have expected him to hit based on the previous two seasons.
Stat of the day, 2: Since injuring his knee in Washington, Yadier Molina is 8-for-38 (.211) with no walks, three strikeouts and one extra-base hit (admittedly a very big extra-base hit). Over the previous 35 games he had been at .339/.388/427.
Fun with double situational splits: Albert Pujols is batting .387 with a .441 OBP and slugging .759 in night games since the All-Star break.

And, finally, the playlist:
There’s so ridiculously much good music with Georgia connections, I don’t even know where to start. So let’s just kind of go all over the map.
R.E.M., “Pretty Persuasion”
Outkast, “Ms. Jackson”
Drive-By Truckers, “Wednesday”
Gnarls Barkley, “Smiley Faces”
B-52s, “Give Me Back My Man”


There’s an old story (maybe I read it in Joe Garagiola’s book Baseball is a Funny Game) about an ump who (vocally) called “Safe!” on a batter-runner as he signalled “Out” with his hands on the call at first. As both the first baseman and the batter-runner looked at the ump with a “WTF?” look, the runner asked the ump, “Well, which is it? Safe or out?” The ump replied something to the effect of, “Well, you guys, the [first-base] coach, and me heard me say ‘safe’, but everyone else in the stadium saw me signal ‘out’. Majority rules: you’re out. Sorry.”

But yeah, as this story illustrates, the umps are (and have been for a long time; Garagiola published his book in the early ’60s) very aware of what the fans see as opposed to what the umps, coaches, and players hear…

I watched the reply, and I just don’t see that the helmut flip was all that “theatrical”. They guy was angry (and rightly so, as it was a terrible call), so he tossed his helmut. Big deal. The umps need to get over it.

While we are at it, we need to get rid of umpires calling balls and strikes anyway. Computers do a much better job right now, so let’s just avoid this kind of silliness and let the machines do this.

Throwing your helmet when you are twenty feet away from the batter’s box is cause for ejection? Who came up with these ridiculous rules? That ejection was showboating by the umpire. DiMuro and Davidson should take their clown show on the road somewhere else. I hear they are hiring in Sarasota.

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