The fans in Seattle were on their feet Tuesday night, the standing ovation wasn't for the pitching of Felix Hernandez or the hitting of Nelson Cruz, no this time they were cheering bad behavior by Lloyd McClendon as the Mariners manager got ejected and left the field like a conquering hero.
Lloyd put on quite a show after he took exception to a checked-swing call that didn't favor the home team. McClendon fired his hat into the ground and began shouting at the first-base ump. With the crowd cheering wildly, McClendon headed toward home plate kicking his hat along the way – then began to give the home plate umpire the business.
Wanting to touch 'um all Lloyd then trotted to third base, where he yelled at the third-base ump and kicked more dirt (he's still upset). Likely exhausted by now he finally made his way back toward the dugout, but not before he turned and pointed at the second-base umpire, as if saying I didn't forget about you buddy!
Long after they've forgotten the game winning home run or the final score of an early June game the 27,442 assembled at Safeco Field that night will remember the antics of the manager done wrong by the men in blue.
Kind of crazy when you think about it, a grown man in charge of other adult men kicking dirt like a 2-year old, throwing his hat, kicking his hat, pointing his index finger in the face of an umpire who made a call on a close play that could have gone either way.
Would you or I take this raving maniac attitude from our superiors at work or could we pull this act on our bosses? I don't think so. Do you think these same managers go barging into their owners office throwing hats, kicking, screaming pointing fingers if they don't like something, probably not.
In sports we cheer the manager who goes 2-year old on the umpire; I guess we file it under entertainment. Maybe a part of us likes that in-your-face to authority when the manager gives the umpires that "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore." At least in baseball it doesn't cost the team anything; sure the manager has to leave the dugout which means he manages by messenger from his office, big deal.
In basketball the crazy coach gets a "T" and the other team shoots free throws. When John Harbaugh goes fruit-loops on the sidelines his act costs the Ravens 15-yards, no such penalties in baseball. Maybe a team should lose an out?
It's part of baseball tradition; managers argue with umpires and get tossed. Baltimore has had some of the greats in this department. Hall of Fame manager John McGraw was getting tossed out of games in Baltimore in the 1890's. McGraw was asked to leave 118 times, second most on the all-time heave-ho list. Paul Richards set an American League record when he was tossed out of 12 games during the Orioles 1956 season (not a very good one).
Earl Weaver turned the ejection into an art-form, nearly 100 times Earl was asked to leave early and some of Earl's shows exceeded headliner acts in Vegas. The record shows that Weaver was ejected in 1 of every 27 games and when it happened at Memorial Stadium Earl left to a standing ovation.
The modern replay challenges will cut down on this manager/umpire angst, but every once in a while a Lloyd McClendon type will lose it, the fans will go wild and the childish act will remind us of the good old days.
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