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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The managerial ejection is going the way of the dinosaurs, and that’s cause for concern

John+Farrell+arguing+with+Laz+Diaz+last+year%2C+prior+to+the+new+replay+rules+being+adopted
John Farrell arguing with Laz Diaz last year, prior to the new replay rules being adopted

You know, I always love to think about unintended consequences. Like when you think that getting a classmate a birthday present will be a friendly gesture, before you find out that she’s going out with the starting left tackle, or when you cater a shindig with Taco Bell — thinking that everyone could come together over Mexican food — only to notice the long line going to your bathroom (which you forgot to put Glade in just this once).
I think we’re experiencing something like that in baseball. Managerial ejections have all but died off as a result of instant replay, and for someone who loves the memories that they create, that is very, very sad.
Remember when Bobby V snuck back into the dugout in a disguise? What about the time Earl Weaver got tossed when he was wired for sound? Do you recall when Bobby Cox broke the all time record for ejections? What about when Lou Pinella threw first base, or that time Lou Pinella slammed his hat to the ground, or that time Lou Pinella kicked dirt over the plate? You get my point.
All of those moments were priceless; the kind of thing that you remember as a kid and can’t wait to tell your kids about when they start watching, nowadays if there’s a good ejection, they are few and far between, and this can all be pinned on the MLB’s use of expanded replay.
Don’t get me wrong, I like expanded replay, it works well enough, and it has led to more accurate calls and fewer teams being screwed out of wins by umpires, I’m with it. I just think that there needs to be some sort of happy medium.
Right now the rule states that if a manager argues a call that has already been challenged, he will be ejected immediately, and it also states that a manager is only guaranteed one challenge during a game, meaning that he must use it wisely. Umpires have been instructed to give managers some time to consult the team’s video technician about a potential challenge, meaning that in past years when a manager would erupt from a dugout screaming with veins popping out of his neck, now he just jogs out to the umpire and turns to face his dugout while chatting about weather, or the Kardashians, or whatever. If a manager decides he doesn’t want to challenge a play, he doesn’t argue the point, he just walks back into the dugout like nothing ever happened. If he does challenge it and he loses, there’s nothing he can do.
Needless to say this is not compelling television. Where’s the fire? The passion? There’s very little chance in today’s game that a manager is going to be ejected in the dramatic, clusterf#$% way that they used to. That’s why I’m calling on MLB to allow managers to argue calls that have already been challenged. Of course the managers will be ejected if they swear at the umpire, bump into him, or delay the game, but it will take out the automatic ejections that have become a snooze-fest.
This may seem like such a comical argument, but it’s rooted in reality. Right now there is a conversation going around about who the next “face of baseball” will be; no other sport is having that debate. Baseball is trailing the NFL, College Football, the NBA, and College Basketball right now among young people, and one of the major factors contributing to this decline is the lack of color and pizzaz in the game, and what’s more colorful than John Farrell’s bright red, screaming face?
Ejections don’t really accomplish much, but they are a great change of pace in a game that (admit it) can get monotonous at times and they are actually a valuable recruiting tool to draw younger fans with shorter attention spans to the sport.
So the next time someone gets tossed in an outlandish way, cherish it, appreciate it, and save it on Youtube because it may not happen for a while.