5 Epic Manager Meltdowns In Baseball
Minor League manager Joe Mikulik is infamous for his histrionic tirades and on Sunday as manager of the Class-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, he kept his reputation in tact during a face off with the home plate umpire. This time not only did Mikulik perform the requisite dirt kicking, he re-enacted the slide himself and even started to undress at home plate.
In honor of his ridiculous rant, here are five of the most epic manager meltdowns in baseball history.
5. Robin Ventura: The 7:13 Breakdown
Put White Sox Manager Robin Ventura on the list of folks who aren’t exactly wild about the MLB’s new home plate rule.
Also known as the 7.13, the rule doesn’t allow the catcher to block the plate unless he has possession of the ball. It was instated to prevent major collisions – and injuries – at home plate.
Unfortunately, for Ventura, his catcher was burned. Despite the ump calling an out at home against the San Francisco Giants, the call went to instant replay.
After six long minutes (yes six! Don’t get me started) the play was overturned and Ventura was unleashed at home. Who doesn’t love a little dirt kicking?
4. Lou Piniella: The Hat Trick
We tip our hat or should I say throw our hat onto the field for Sweet Lou Piniella who never failed to get fired up in defense of his team. This video shows his first ejection as manager of the Chicago Cubs and features his signature cap-kicking move.
This particular tirade strikes a chord because, well, Lou and you’ve got the Wrigley crowd showing their support by tossing their own hats onto the field.
3. Joe Mikulik: Who’s On First?
As I’ve mentioned before, a Joe Mikulik meltdown is always one for the record books and this epic temper-tantrum raised the bar for minor league managers.
This particular performance occurred in 2006 when Mikulik was managing the Asheville Tourists. In this 3:31 second video he manages to fit in base throwing, home plate hiding, bat throwing and advising the ump where the strike zone should be. The best part of the video? Thanks to an astute home team sound system manager we get to listen to Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” routine in the background.
Also, don’t miss the reaction of the batboy who is terrified when post-bat throwing he decides to come out of the dugout. Classic.
2. Playing For Peanuts
So very many facts about this video make it epic. For starters Wally Backman had a rough couple of decades both personally and professionally after winning the World Series with the Mets in 1986.
In 2007, Backman’s comeback to minor league baseball as the manager of the Georgia Peanuts was featured in a documentary called “Playing For Peanuts.” Only, during one game, Backman comes to the defense of a player who was thrown out of the game. He then proceeds to lose his cool, get thrown out himself and continue the tirade for at least five minutes. Even better? Since this was all being taped for a documentary we’ve got every single word of dialogue on audio including the end of the outrage when he requests a nail clipper, a beer and that no one on his team clean up the mess.
And I’m obsessed with the players in the dugout who simply cannot control their laughter.
Watch the video here. Also a classic but definitely NSFW.
1. Hal McRae: Put That In Your Pipe And Smoke It
Sometimes the biggest meltdowns happen off the field. Case in point Kansas City Royals manager Hal McRae didn’t exactly feel like chatting with the press following a 5-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
When one reporter wondered aloud why he didn’t send George Brett in as a pinch hitter, all hell broke loose. And the rest is history.
Yes that was a phone that was thrown and blood was shed.
So “put that in your pipe and smoke it.”