Ben Zobrist told ump he wanted an electronic strike zone. He got thrown out of game.
Sometimes it's good to unmask things, whether it's umpires, superheroes or pro wrestlers.
And it's always good unmask the truth.
So we'll do a little unmasking of things here in the wake of the Cubs' lackluster 7-0 loss Tuesday to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers hit 3 home runs off starting pitcher Jose Quintana, jumping to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and adding 2 more in the third. With the victory, the Brewers (68-54) pulled to within 2 games of the first-place Cubs (68-50) in the National League Central.
About the most excitement for the Cubs came when manager Joe Maddon was kicked out of the game by home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi after arguing a called third strike on Ben Zobrist in the sixth inning. The mild-mannered Zobrist was as animated and angry as he tends to get as he argued the outside pitch.
Zobrist got himself kicked out after the eighth. He was on deck to bat when the inning ended and was coming out of the game anyway for a substitution when he went to talk with Cuzzi.
They talked for a bit before Cuzzi tossed him.
There is a magic word -- or two -- that will get a player or a manager ejected, and they aren't fit for newspapers. But Zobrist said something else to Cuzzi, and it was very interesting, perhaps unmasking a quiet truth about the desire of some in baseball.
"When you have good, quality at-bats as a hitter and you feel like it's kind of taken away from you, you want some sort of answer," said Zobrist, who said it was his first career ejection. "You want to be sure that they're going to go back and make an adjustment. And that's what I asked for. He didn't want to talk about that. He didn't want me to tell him that.
"I just basically said that's why we want an electronic strike zone. And that's what obviously got me tossed."
There has been growing momentum in many circles for some sort of "robo-umpires" or the electronic strike zone because of inconsistencies in ball-and-strike calls from umpire to umpire and sometimes within the same game by one umpire.
So it's a very sensitive subject among the men in blue. That said, does Zobrist really want the electronic zone?
"I'm just going to leave it at that," he said. "I think that discussion will happen eventually, but I'm just going to leave right now the fact that I said that. That's it."
The umpiring and the Cubs' reaction to it masked the fact that the offense is not clicking right now. They have alternated wins and losses over their last six games. They've also been shut out nine times this season, three times by the Brewers.
"There's a couple bad calls, but we've got to do a better job offensively, my God," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. "That's really what it comes down to. We had chances a couple times early. That went way. They hit a couple pitches out, and all of a sudden it's a bad game, regardless of a couple calls by the umpire. It's on us offensively."
It was the second straight rough outing for Cubs starting pitcher Jose Quintana, who lasted 5 innings, giving up 6 hits and 5 runs.
Lorenzo Cain led off the game with a home run. Later in the inning, Ryan Braun hit a 2-run homer. He also hit a 2-run homer in the third off Quintana, who fell to 10-9 with a 4.46 ERA.
"The home run is what changed the game," said Quintana through a translator. "I really feel bad about this game. It was a big game coming in after last time (a 9-0 loss at Kansas City) against a division rival. I'm just upset that I wasn't able to execute today."