Here's video footage, which shows an utterly livid Matheny having to be held back by a pair of umpires from home plate umpire Dan Bellino:
Matheny wasn't angry about the final call, as it was clearly a catch. He wanted a piece of Bellino due to what happened with the first batter of the ninth inning. Cardinals youngster Matt Adams was called out on strikes and protested the call. As he lingered around the box -- and it wasn't excessive by any means -- Bellino ripped off his mask and made a little motion with his hand to go back to the dugout. It was akin to shooing animals away from you.
That was Matheny's problem, as he told reporters after the game (via stltoday.com).
“It had more to do with the umpire and how he mistreated one of our players,” Matheny said after the game. “It had nothing to do with the call. It had everything to do with him going too far. You can't take your mask off and motion somebody away. We haven't had any trouble. We haven't been complaining all game long.
“He wanted to be seen, so now he's going to be seen.”
I've expressed my disgust with how MLB umpires insist on ripping off their mask and making themselves the center of attention before, most recently with the case of the Rays vs. Tom Hallion.
The umpires are supposed to be the authority figure. Authority figures should not instigate spats. And even if you think Adams was the instigator here, Bellino certainly escalated it. An authority figure isn't supposed to do that. He's supposed to diffuse situations like that, not elevate them.
In fact, the best course of action here is to ignore. Any adult should know that. Maybe a verbal cue to Adams telling him to get moving without elevating the situation.
But ripping off the mask and treating the player like a small animal? C'mon man. That's immaturity at its highest level. Again, from an authority figure.
The role of sports officials when it comes to arguments or fights is to stop them, not start them.
While we're here, here's a rule that I believe all officials in any sport need to follow: Remain anonymous. MLB umpires far too often violate this principle.
It's pretty simple. The people in the crowd and watching on TV and/or the Internet are watching to see the players. Not the umpires.
Stay out of the spotlight, stop ripping off your masks to yell at people, shut up and do your job, guys. That's what you are paid to do.
That applies here again. And probably about 30 more times this season.
Get it together, MLB umpires.