The Baseball Desert

Friday, August 22, 2003

Great minds think alike

Managers are clearly starting to feel the effects of a long, hard season - clear, pertinent, detailed, well thought-out analyses have gone by the board and have now been replaced by killer, you-can't-argue-with-that one-liners. The effectiveness of these one-liners can be measured by the frequency with which they're used - yesterday, the Cubs' Dusty Baker and Philadelphia's Larry Bowa used exactly the same phrase to sum up their respective teams' situations: "It is what it is". Words of wisdom indeed...

Whilst we're on the subject of managers, check out Jim Caple's article on on "Sweet" Lou Piniella's legendary on-field tantrums. Caple goes on to list some of baseball's most famously argumentative and demonstrative managers, finishing up, of course, with Baltimore's Earl Weaver, who was in a league of his own when it came to arguing, shouting and yelling:

"Weaver once said that it's the manager's job to argue with the umpire because he doesn't hurt the team by getting ejected -- and he did. He was ejected at least 91 times (one source says 98) and suspended four times in his career. Ron Luciano alone ejected Weaver eight times in the majors and four consecutive games in the minors.

Weaver was ejected in the regular season. He was ejected in the playoffs. He was ejected in the World Series. He was ejected from both ends of a doubleheader -- three times. He was ejected before a game started -- twice. And he was creative. He once tore up the rule book and scattered its pages on the field. He once faked a heart attack. He once ripped up second base and carried it into the dugout.

He once told an umpire that he could appear on "What's My Line" wearing his mask, chest protector and ball/strike indicator and still nobody would guess he was an umpire.

God, baseball misses him.

Classic stuff.