Old yellers

Trembley blowup inspires shout-out to meltdown masters

The Kickoff

September 14, 2007|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN REPORTER

Wednesday's 18-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels hardly evoked memories of past Orioles glory, but for a moment at least, manager Dave Trembley channeled predecessor Earl Weaver.

After a seemingly blown call at second base in the fourth inning, Trembley stormed out to argue and was quickly ejected. But before leaving, he drew a line in the sand with his cleats and motioned as if he were ejecting umpire Paul Emmel. The blowup gave Orioles fans a rare reason to cheer.

Trembley, however, will have to manage a long time or show a much hotter temper to join these kings of the on-field outburst:

Earl Weaver - The greatest skipper in Orioles history was also the most-ejected manager in American League history (97 times). Weaver wasn't particularly fiery with his players, but get him into an argument with an umpire and he would jab his finger, emphasize every profane shout with a gyration of his head and kick dirt on his enemy's shoes. For years after he retired, Orioles scoreboard operators loved to show clips of his greatest blowups, set to the War tune "Why Can't We Be Friends?"

Lou Piniella - The Cubs manager is the modern master of the umpire showdown. Piniella's greatest hit came in 2002, when, as manager of the Mariners, he uprooted first base and hurled it down the right-field line not once but twice. He was suspended as recently as June for going nose-to-nose with umpire Mark Wegner, kicking dirt on Wegner's shoes and kicking his own hat. Piniella admitted after the game that he had sought the ejection to fire up his team.

Billy Martin - He might have been just as apt to fight with his own players, but Martin started some doozies with the umpires, as well. Like Weaver, he favored kicking dirt, and, like Weaver, he was among the few managers ever ejected from a World Series game. In 1988, his final season as a manager, Martin hurled a fistful of dirt at umpire Dale Scott's chest. Umpires leaguewide were so incensed that they voted to "take strong measures to curb his temper." The commissioner's office had to make peace.

John McGraw - We don't have the video to document his greatest tantrums, but McGraw held the all-time record for ejections at 131 until Bobby Cox passed him last month. McGraw developed his rugged, taunting style as a player for the Orioles of the 1890s. As manager of the New York Giants for 31 seasons, he hectored opposing players, managers and owners into many a brawl. After one argument with an umpire, he supposedly urged a posse of fans to hunt the man down.

Phillip Wellman - As manager for the Double-A Mississippi Braves, Wellman can't match the resumes of the aforementioned four. But his June blowup, a YouTube favorite, was so spectacular that he earns a spot. After arguing the ejection of his pitcher, Wellman buried home plate under a mound of dirt, uprooted third base and tossed it into the outfield, and did a military-style belly crawl to the pitcher's mound, picked up the rosin bag, pantomimed pulling a grenade pin and tossed the bag at the home plate umpire. He was suspended three games.

childs.walker@baltsun.com

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