FIVE REASONS WHY . . . We enjoy watching Major League Baseball managers implode
Take it from me. Throughout my 40 years of covering Major League Baseball, I've seen more than a few managers absolutely lose it, and I'll give you my five favorite explosions.
This came to mind Thursday when MLB commissioner Rob Manfred admitted after a meeting with owners that he was trying to remove from the Internet every brilliant second of a leaked video (see above) showing former New York Mets manager Terry Collins threatening to die on the field from screaming his lungs out at umpires.
According to Manfred, "We made a commitment to the umpires that if they would wear microphones, certain types of interactions that we all know go on the field would not be aired publicly."
5. The Look
During the 1982 season in San Diego, Frank Robinson wasn't in the best of moods, and that was always scary for his San Francisco Giants and for those of us covering his team back then.
This time, after the Giants dropped a particularly sloppy game to the Padres, we arrived at the visiting manager's office at old Jack Murphy Stadium to find tables, chairs and lamps flipped over and resting in places around the room where they normally wouldn't be.
There was Frank, sitting behind his desk with his eyes getting narrower by the moment, daring somebody to ask a question. I think I did. Then again, maybe I didn't.
4. The Epidemic
I've covered Atlanta sports since January 1985, and Bobby Cox took over the Braves for a second time as manager during the summer of 1990. Let's just say I saw a slew of Braves games run by this Baseball Hall of Famer, which means I witnessed many of his record 158 ejections for jawing with umpires.
There are just too many dirt-kicking gems here to mention. And this is so bizarre: Despite Cox getting tossed all of those times, he remained highly respected by umpires.
3. The Pull Down
Of all things, the following happened during the summer of 1981 on Ladies Day in St. Louis at old Busch Stadium, where Cardinals shortstop Garry Templeton failed to run to first base after the catcher fumbled the third strike. The normally pleasant Cardinals fans booed. He responded with a one-finger salute, and when the jeering grew, he grabbed his crotch.
By the time Templeton reached the dugout, the significantly older Whitey Herzog found the strength through his rage to reach up and yank Templeton down the steps. Then he shoved his player into the tunnel, and he prepared to deliver a few blows before he was separated by coaches and other players.
I watched live from the press box, mesmerized by the moment like everybody else, and I'm still rubbing my eyes.
2. The Rearranged Office
After a home loss in 1982 for Billy Martin and his Oakland A's -- along with several other issues in his world (There were always OTHER issues for this guy) -- he went on a rampage in his office at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. He tore up the place, ripping pictures off the walls and damaging every piece of furniture. I, along with other reporters, just saw the aftermath, and it wasn't pretty.
Billy was fired, but he was hired for the third of five different times by the New York Yankees, his team as a player.
I was at Yankee Stadium that next year, and Billy's pitching coach/drinking buddy Art Fowler signaled for me to join him in the outfield during batting practice. "It wasn't Billy that done that to his office in Oakland. It was Clete (Boyer)," Fowler said, nodding, trying to throw Billy's former teammate and third base coach under the bus, with Billy and Art driving.
1. The Announcement
In July 1980, I was covering the San Francisco Giants in St. Louis, and star player Jack Clark told me manager Dave Bristol (nicknamed Sergeant Carter by his troops) was losing control of the team. This is the same Bristol who slugged pitcher John Montefusco earlier in the season before they wrestled on the floor.
For the sake of balance in my upcoming story, I went to the visiting manager's office for Bristol's thoughts on what Clark said, and Bristol scrambled from behind his desk. He grabbed me by the arm, led me into the middle of the clubhouse at a frantic pace and yelled, "Tell him. Tell him, Jack. I'm not losing control of the team. TELL HIM!"