9 Awesome Baseball Manager Tirades We Will Never Forget
As Lou Piniella lays down his spikes this week and retires from the Cubs, he gives us a legacy to look back on unlike any other active manager. While much of his legacy takes the form of wins, losses, and pennants, there is another quality about Lou that we mustn’t ever forget: the ability to flip the fuck out when things don’t go his way.
While a managerial tirade is hardly a cause for alarm, they are so juvenile and disarming coming from old men that one can’t help but grab another handful of popcorn, try not to choke while giggling, and act like that kid in the YouTube video who had to go to the dentist.
This inventory of nine spectacular managerial meltdowns is for you, Lou.
1. Wally Backman – South Georgia Peanuts
It would seem that the awesomeness of managers freak outs are inversely proportionate to the quality of the athletes playing. You rarely see huge freak outs in the majors of any sport, but the further down the ladder you go, the more awesome things get.
So without further ado, let’s start off the list with Wally Backman, a manager who approaches the umps to find out why a player was ejected, only to throw a tantrum for a good five minutes.
This video also features one of the most hilarious parts of any freak out: the “I’m cooling off…I’m cooling off….I’m cooling off….I’M FREAKING OUT AGAIN!” change-up. Needless to say, Wally’s got some of that in this video.
2. Lou Piniella – Chicago Cubs
Let’s not forget why we’re doing this, in honor of Lou’s retirement. Lou was never one to sit on his feelings, and this footage demonstrates why. He was AWESOME at playing the role of the pissed off manager. The fact that this video is shot from the bleachers is even better, as you can feel the crowd get fired up with Sweet Lou. Also, the fact that you can gauge his anger and hear him in a noisy crowd so far away is pretty impressive.
So take a look at the most hat-throwin’-est, dirt-kickin’-est, chest-bumpin’-est tirade around. More Lou to come…
3. Earl Weaver – Baltimore Orioles
One more fun fact about managerial tirades: the older and smaller the manager flipping out is, the funnier and more awesome the tirade is. Which is exactly why I included Earl Weaver in this inventory. Judging by the video, when this was taken Earl was about 932 years old and stood approximately 4’5.
Like so many other managers, he has no real weapons at his disposal other than just screaming his adorable little old-man ass off at the umpire. He can’t even touch the guy, so he resorts to the two most powerful weapons in his arsenal: the finger-point and the up-close scream. He’s mastered the both.
High comedy about halfway through the tape when Earl accuses the manager of “touching” him.
4. Hal McRae – Kansas City Royals
Lest you think that managerial freak outs can only take place on the diamond, allow us to present this expletive-laden rant by Hal McRae in his office while being interviewed by some local press.
This took place when the KC Royals were far and away the worst team in baseball (sorry, Pirates), so McRae was probably stewing a fair amount in the days leading up to this meltdown. When a journalist asks him an innocuous question regarding the lineup, McRae’s meltdown is palpable. He goes from frustrated to irate in the matter of ten seconds or so.
Stick with it till the end, if only for the line “put that in your pipe and smoke it”. That’s so effin’ baseball.
5. Phillip Wellman – Mississippi Braves
Sometimes context is overrated. I don’t care if the manager is right, wrong, or otherwise. They aren’t going to change the call, they are going to get kicked out, and it will be hilarious.
Even with the audio taken away here, I feel that there’s a still a good sense of what’s going on. The manager is displeased with an umpire’s call. He’s vividly stating his displeasure. Nothing else need be known. Wellman hits all the checkpoints here: throwing the hat, getting in the face, kicking dirt, screaming.
But the coup de grace is when he storms off to home plate and covers it with dirt, initially with his feet, but then getting on his hands and knees to brush dirt over the plate. However will they find it again?
He then picks up two bases that he threw and exits through an outfield wall. Watch this video.
6. Lou Piniella – Chicago Cubs
Lou’s not actually the star of the show on this one. Though he does most of the arguing, keep an eye out for whatever tiny, old (remember, tiny + old = funny) Cubs coach makes it out to first almost before the call is made. I swear he could have beaten the run to first.
Lou then seems to handle himself pretty well with the refs, engaging in a civil discussion, which should be fine as long as they don’t….OH NO! They ejected Lou! Here it comes. The hat throwing, chest bumping, screaming…it all comes flooding back to Lou “The Hulk” Piniella. There has to be a class that managers take in fighting with the umps.
And I bet Lou was valedictorian.
To further demonstrate why Lou was the king of this type of thing, here’s a video taken seconds later showing Cubs fans dumping trash on the field in a sympathy strike for Captain Lou.
7. Joe Mikulik – Asheville Tourists
With so many similar managerial freak outs, what distinguishes one from another? Excellent question.
It’s the little things. Like the fact that this guy takes a team called the Asheville Tourists so seriously (I know it’s his job, but still…). And the fact that during this meltdown, you have Abbott and Costello in the background going calmly through their famous “Who’s on First?” routine, while Joe blows a gasket.
To further distinguish itself, this freak out contains Joe Mikulik getting so upset that he seems to almost lose control of his body as he tosses himself onto a base, only to remove it, carry it back to the ump, and use it as if it was an exhibit in his argument.
He then proceeds to cover the water bottle with dirt, but then is kind enough to remove the dirt with a water from a bottle, then point out to the ump where HE thinks the strike zone should be. Joe covers a lot of ground in 3 minutes and 31 seconds.
8. Bobby Cox – Atlanta Braves
This isn’t so much a video as it is a photo montage detailing Bobby Cox’s ascent to nab the record for most ejections at 131. In it, there are some truly hysterical pictures of him red in the face, screaming at umpires. Further, the announcer let’s us know the lay of the land, claiming that Cox has never been as theatrical as Piniella or Earl Weaver (see above), but he was more consistent with his tantrums, which I guess is good.
If you feel as though you’re woefully behind the curve in your knowledge of managerial drama and temper tantrums, then consider this tribute to Bobby Cox as required reading.
9. Kash Beauchamp – Wichita Wingnuts (Probably)
Don’t piss off this Stone Cold Steve Austin look-alike. What happens if you do? He bobs his head up and down like Stevie Wonder on meth, while seeming to act out the Hokey-Pokey at 8x original speed.
Then he will take off his shoe and show it to you, as if to say, “Here’s my shoe. I took it off cause I’m so angry.” Other things he shows to the ump are: his elbow, both his eyes, and his other shoe. The shoe thing wouldn’t be quite so funny if he wasn’t wearing bright red socks underneath.
God bless you, minor league baseball.