ST. LOUIS – The Cubs wanted Joe Maddon’s attitude, showmanship and what he describes as a sense for the moment. So don’t be surprised when their star manager takes this rivalry as an opportunity to send a message.
Maddon got in home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn’s face on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, arguing balls and strikes in the sixth inning and getting ejected from a 6-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I had enough,” Maddon told reporters afterward. “I had enough. I had enough. It was the whole game. It was egregiously bad. I mean, you cannot permit that to happen. We’re trying to ascend. And we’re not going to take that from anybody, anywhere, at any time.
“We play a veteran club with some veteran battery and you got guys that barely have a month in the big leagues. I’m not going to take it. Our guys deserve equal treatment. And I’m not going to take it.
“And I’ll further add: I thought all of our guys – (Kris) Bryant, (Jorge) Soler, (Addison) Russell – handled the moment extremely well. I’m really proud of the fact that they didn’t turn on an umpire. They didn’t say anything disrespectful. They didn’t act like a bunch of babies. They didn’t do any of that. And I thought that was spectacular also.”
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Those three rookies struck out six times combined. For what it’s worth, winning pitcher Jon Lester said he didn’t see those pitches, but also didn’t have any particular issues with Reyburn’s strike zone: “I thought he was, you know, pretty fair on our end, as far as me. But that’s what Joe does. He sticks up for his guys. And that’s what you ask for from a manager.”
That’s probably the larger point for Maddon, who respects The Cardinal Way but didn’t come here to finish in second place. Cubs fans are going to love hearing this kind of stuff.
“Not going to put up with anything,” Maddon said. “I’m not, OK? We’re trying to get something done here. And I’m not going to permit our guys to get shortchanged based on the fact that they haven’t been here a long time."