The main event of WrestleMania 34 won’t be until later tonight, but the St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks had their own WWE-style pull apart to get the day started.
In the second inning of today’s game, Diamondbacks centerfielder A.J. Pollock took exception to being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Tim Timmons. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo rushed out to argue for his player and was quickly ejected.
The argument continued with Lovullo pointing at Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who took exception. Timmons got between the two and Daniel Descalso, who was on deck for Arizona, also quickly stepped in to try and hold back Molina.
St. Louis Manager Mike Matheny rushed out to restrain his catcher as both benches emptied and pitchers sprinted in from the bullpen. As the dust settled, only Lovullo was ejected.
After the game, Molina was still upset about what happened.
“Their manager, they came out arguing with the umpire, and he said a bad word to me, myself, and I reacted that way–what do you expect,” said Molina, who confirmed the comments were directed to him. “Yes, yes to me. He called me a mother&*^#r, twice. You can’t allow that. I hope that MLB sees this and they can fine this guy because you can’t allow that.”
During the scrum, Molina was focused on Lovullo but made contact with Timmons, trying to push him away to get to the Arizona manager. It’s not yet known if that will have disciplinary ramifications from MBL.
“That’s the least of my worries right now,” said Molina. “Timmons knows me. If I did, I didn’t do it on purpose.”
But he was very clear that MLB needs to discipline Lovullo.
“They have to, you can’t allow that,” reiterated Molina. “You can’t talk to a player like that–or umpire. You can’t talk to anybody like that. You have to be professional. That wasn’t professional at all.”
Molina’s sentiment and description of the events was backed up by Timmons, who addressed the situation with a media pool reporter after the game.
“So when Lovullo got to me after I had ejected him, he made a comment that was aggressive that Yadi overheard so that’s why Yadi reacted the way that he did,” said Timmons. “I think at that point Yadi became agitated which was understandable so when I turned around he didn’t maybe push me as much as I tried to get in between them and I think it was a natural reaction.”
Timmons felt any contact with Molina was accidental.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “It’s just incidental. That (was) nothing. None of that.”
The fact that he was even included in the argument between an opposing manager and the home plate umpire surprised Molina.
“Of course, I was like right in the corner and then when he called me a mother&*^#r–twice,” said Molina. “I reacted the way I reacted. If you’re going to call mother&*^#r to a guy then you better be ready to fight.”
The Cardinals catcher was asked why Lovullo would’ve have called him that.
“I don’t know,” answered Molina. “I hope he can tell me right in my face because I’m going to, I don’t know…”
“I mean he’s got no reason to call me. My mother is right in Puerto Rico. I mean, you can’t allow that. You can’t allow that–that’s unprofessional.”
Molina was unsure what was said between Matheny and Lovullo after things had settled down. He also expressed that his anger was not directed at any of the other members of the Arizona team.
“I’ve got a bunch of respect for the organization, for their players,” he said. “They play hard. They beat us today and the first day. I know Danny Descalso, I know other guys. I’ve got plenty of respect. It got me by surprise. This guy called me out there and from the dugout, and twice he called me that word, that’s unprofessional like I said.”
Molina clarified that Lovullo did not call him any names from the Arizona dugout.
“No, right there next to me and pointed at me too. That’s unprofessional. Hopefully we can meet, face to face and see if he has some balls and tell me right in my face.”
Meanwhile in the opposite clubhouse, Lovullo offered his side of the story.
“I just was going out there to talk about something with the umpire and was referencing something and used a poor choice of words and (Molina) took offense to it,” said Lovullo. “I wish I could take back what I said, but it really wasn’t really directed at him.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports