Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ejections getting ejected...

                      Last week, in a game against the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected for arguing a call...I almost wept.  Future generations may never know, or get to appreciate the true art of managers getting ejected by umpires, due to the recent reliance on instant replay.  Team skippers throwing tantrums over even the most marginal of bad calls, are disappearing faster than the one on one fight in hockey or the hook shot in basketball.  One could say it's a good thing; umpires are getting the calls right, and it doesn't seem to take nearly as much time as it does in football.  However, my argument is this...if the umpires were doing their job, we wouldn't need instant replay, but anyway...

              A lot of people have their favorites, whether it's Lou Pinella picking up the first base and throwing it, (or later, Lloyd Mclendon picking it up and taking it with him to the dugout) Billy Martin's psychotic rants, or Bobby Cox's record setting 161 ejections, breaking the old record by John McGraw.  It was something the fans could get into, whether the manager in question was home or away.  It seems  you almost need a team brawl, or the occasional bad ball/strike call to get the heave nowadays.

       The all time master of this was probably Earl Weaver, who was tossed 91 times in his career, and while that's not the record, he made every one of them count.  A diminutive man, Earl would run out to the field, turn his cap backwards, and give the ump a piece of his mind, in his gravely, smoker's voice.  The real fun began once he was tossed.  Unlike most managers, he would get his money's worth, staying out on the field long after he wore out his welcome.

             In one game, early in the season, Earl was ejected in the first inning-FIRST INNING- of a game, mainly to go out an keep his hard hitting first baseman Eddie Murray from getting ejected on a balk call.  Weaver got in between Murray and the ump, and after a few expletives, he said, "Your job, and every one else's job here is to fuck us!"...GONE...of course, that was only the beginning, as Earl accused the man in blue of poking him, saying, "you do that again, I'll knock you right in the nose."  Then the ump got in a good line...after Earl said that he was the only one of the two of them  going to the Hall of fame, the ump said, "for what, fuckin' up World series?" (Earl won it all only once in four trips.)

                 I'm not sure how long this instant replay will last. Maybe forever...if that's the case, we may be losing one of the most entertaining parts of the game.  Sure, a manager can only challenge once so often, so there's still room for explosive anger and red faces, but I feel a part of my childhood die when I see the umpires gathering around to look at a play that they probably either should have gotten right, or, hopefully, get wrong, so I could see yet another swear laden rant, complete with tossed bats and ballbags from the dugout....hell, I'd even settle for one of Joe Torre's "cooler heads will prevail" type argument.  That way, Don Zimmer would take over, and he was always good for an eruption...

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