Matt Holliday’s National League-record streak of reaching base safely in 44 games to start the season ended with his 0-for-3 night in the Cardinals 1-0 win over the Brewers. Had Milwaukee tied the game, Holliday would not have had a fourth chance to keep the streak alive after he was ejected from the game by home-plate umpire Joe West while walking back to the dugout after West called strike three.
“I have a clean conscience on what I said,” Holliday said.
Yet his antics could have cost his team as he put his ego in front of the good of the team. Holliday is one of the biggest complainers of called strike three. I have no scientific proof, that’s just my observations, but he’ll always look back at the home plate umpire in animated fashion and is very animated with his protests. This time he went too far.
Last night in a 1-0 game is not the time to get tossed. Fox Sports picks up Holliday initially saying to West, “the strike zone’s huge all night.” Yet Holliday continues to chirp at West as he walks backwards. At least twice, West motions with his mask to move on.
I believe West is the worst umpire when it comes to calling his strike zone, but he showed enough restraint and gave room for Holliday to complain, yet when Holliday didn’t stop, West was left with no choice to bounce him.
Holliday has to show the restraint to let his manager fall on the sword and defend the players for bad calls. Yet, at the time of Holliday’s ejection, Mike Matheny wasn’t even out of the dugout to protest the call. Matheny only confronts West after the ejection and I can only assume Matheny is questioning the ejection, now the strike zone, judging from his postgame comments.
The Cardinals are fortunate that they pulled out the 1-0 victory. Had Milwaukee tied the game after putting two runners on base, Holliday’s spot in the order would have been fourth in the ninth, meaning he could have potentially come up with the winning run on base with two outs. His justification?
That was not the time to argue and Holliday needs to know better, but he comes across as almost pompous in his postgame comments as if he’s earned the right to argue, but not only argue, but continue to do so as he walks back to the dugout. I don’t care if you’re Ted Williams, you keep yappin’ 30 feet from home plate, your night is over.
Give a listen to the rest of Holliday’s thoughts.