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Umpires on arguing managers: “Sometimes you’re going to be the prop for their little stage show”

Dec 17, 2012, 9:57 AM EDT

Terry Collins AP

I’m all for bringing on ED-209 and the other robot umpires, but if we did replace the men in blue we wouldn’t have fun stories like this one from Zack Meisel at  He spoke with umpires who talk about those times when managers come out to argue, but don’t actually argue as opposed to merely try to make it look like they’re arguing.

One such circumstance arose when Terry Collins was leading the Angels in the late 1990s. After a questionable call, Collins sought out Scott and told the umpire, “You know what, Dale? I know that was the right call. But we [stink]. You have to run me.”

Scott told Collins he needed him to display more emotion and conviction to warrant his dismissal, so the manager flung his hat and Scott pointed him to the exit.

The whole managers arguing with umpires angle of the game is something we all accept because it’s something we notice almost as soon as we start to figure out what the game is all about. But man, when you think about it, it’s really strange.

  1. townballblog - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Managers on arguing umpires: “Sometimes you’re going to be the prop for their little stage show”…

    Could go both ways, right?

  2. historiophiliac - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Joe West is no prop, Sir.

    • townballblog - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:13 AM


    • b453841l - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      Apparently Mr. West is lurking in this forum thumbing down the truth.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:05 PM

        ha ha

        In which case, I’m glad I didn’t add: a tool maybe, but never a prop

      • cur68 - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM

        Mr. West does not lurk. He more oozes glutinously and hunkers behind something larger than he (battleships and the like) and then plops down on his prey. Poor innocent little thumb click….what did it ever do to deserve that?

    • paperlions - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      He’s no Prop Joe, that’s for sure.

    • derklempner - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:38 PM

      That’s only because he’s the background. Not a prop.

  3. DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    In some cases I think that is true – that it is for show, or backing up your player who would otehrwise be tossed. But for the most part, it is what it appears to be: emotions boiling over.

    As the late great Richie Ashburn often said when he saw balls 12 inches outside called a strike, “Harry, I wouldn’t last more then a couple of innings in this game!”

  4. steve7921 - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    are you saying that Joe West thinks he is on stage singing…that would explain some of his calls!!!

  5. chill1184 - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    Strange but sometimes I can get really F-ing funny

    • chill1184 - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      * It (edit function!)

      • historiophiliac - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:50 AM

        Dang! I thought you were outing yourself there for a minute.

  6. sdelmonte - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Terry’s seen Hoosiers, hasn’t he? There are worse influences on a career.

    And it’s funny you use ED-209, since I think everyone is afraid that we will get the baseball version of that robot: looks great on paper, costs a lot of money, makes errors that a human could make, and gets blown to bits by the tech that baseball doesn’t buy. Given the history of innovation within baseball, it seems likely that there will be a lot of glitches along the way to a reliable electronic system to supplement the men in blue.

  7. mrwillie - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Yeah, maybe the managers arguing with the umps is strange, but I like it. It gives baseball character. Show or no show, it gets the players fired up knowing their manager is behind them. Besides in an age where players can’t celebrate in the NFL and coaches can’t leave their box in the NBA we should be glad baseball let’s their characters be themselves from time to time. So bring it on managers, keep on running out there and kicking dirt.

  8. mj1818 - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Sometimes they need to do this to get the their team and or the crowd back in the game. It works sometimes and lights a fire

  9. b453841l - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    MVP Baseball 2005 had the best feature where you could argue close calls. You would just tap a button rapidly and your manager would start having a tantrum with the ump. The longer you did it, or if you did it multiple times during the game, the more likely you were to get tossed. Once you got ejected, you couldn’t make any player changes, so your computer bench coach would have control. If the call was really bad, you could spaz a long time before getting ejected. If you didn’t get ejected, it seemed to fire your team up and make good things happen. What a great game!

  10. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    It’s amazing how much “longer” replay challenges will make a game of baseball, but the stupid, never-amount-to-anything, manager running out to argue with the umpires remain in the game without debate.

  11. shawndc04 - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    I remember a story about Gene Mauch which may or may not be apocryphal. Gene was managing the Phillies when they were truly awful. In a game when they were getting routed, Gene came out to argue a meaningless call and would not quit arguing. The ump told him, “Gene, I know what you’re trying to do. You want me to throw you out. Well if I gotta umpire this shit, you gotta watch it. Now get back to the bench.”

  12. phillyphannn83 - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Never amount to anything??? guess you don’t even watch baseball because you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. I for one love it. Keep it in the game, like fighting in hockey. Its an extracurricular part of the game that can completely change the course of play.

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