Joe Maddon has had his fair share of run-ins with umpires in his time with the Chicago Cubs, though it hardly feels like it’s been more than you’d typically see. You’ve got an interested party having his fate determined by a human trying to do the job of a robot – sometimes he’s gonna beef.
That included yesterday, when Maddon took serious umbrage at the strike zone his pitchers were facing and ultimately got the boot:
The pitch there that riled Maddon up tracked as very clearly inside, though I suppose there’s always a build-up that precedes the final blow. Still, reviewing the chart at Brooks, I don’t see a lot to beef with, including the Ryan Braun walk that came the batter before. Sure, there were some bad calls, and the few that there were tended to favor the Brewers, but this was not an egregiously bad or one-sided zone. It was just especially tight with lefties at the plate, and that burned the Cubs.
In relation to that dispute and that ejection, I found this from Jon Heyman to be interesting today:
Umpires are NOT big fans of Joe Maddon, not sure if that is out there but it is the truth. says @JonHeyman
— Mully And Haugh (@mullyhaugh) September 4, 2018
Heyman has alluded to this kind of thing before, and it’s entirely clear where it’s coming from, so grab that grain of salt.
For the most part, umps are professionals, are used to the disputes and the criticism, and still perform their job as best as humanly possible. But we’ve seen some Cubs players treated poorly by a very small number of particularly cantankerous umpires, and you wonder to what extent there’s a negative perception in the umpiring fraternity about the Cubs in general. I’m not saying it’s leading to calls not going in their favor or anything like that. I just wonder if the feistiness trigger is a little quicker.
I’m trying to not be a homer here, but I really don’t see the Cubs – in the collective – being “worse” to umpires than any other team, and that includes Joe Maddon. They offer up their gripes, sure, but doesn’t every team?