Ryan Chartrand

I love watching grown men throw temper tantrums.

As an avid sports fan, I was treated to two gems last weekend in the form of baseball managers offering full- blown hissy fits, much to my delight.

Friday night provided an outburst for the ages as Phillip Wellman went ballistic after the umpire ejected his pitcher for apparently using a foreign substance. Wellman is the manager of Double-A baseball’s Mississippi Braves.

Wellman stormed out of the dugout, threw his hat and began shouting in the umpire’s face. He proceeded to cover home plate in dirt, outlining the plate with his finger. All this was pretty standard, uninspired jawing that is actually pretty common in baseball.

He then stomped over to third base, pulled up the bag and continued on toward second. He tossed third into the outfield. This is where he really impressed me and anyone else who has watched at least two minutes of ESPN in the last 24 hours.

Wellman dropped to the ground and crawled on his stomach in a military wiggle to the pitcher’s mound. He pretended the rosin bag was a grenade by pulling an imaginary pin with his teeth and chucked it toward home where the umpire was standing. The bag exploded with a tiny poof.

He then motioned as if he was ejecting the empire, picked up second and third base again, and stormed off toward the outfield gate.

After blowing a few kisses to the wildly cheering crowd, he offered a final salute, and left.

His performance rivaled those of the all time greats- Earl Weaver, Billy Martin and Bob Knight would all be proud. Wellman received a three-game suspension for his childish behavior.

Not to be outdone, major league manager and perennial time bomb Lou Piniella unleashed a tirade of his own over the weekend.

The Chicago Cubs manager received a four-game suspension for yelling in the face of an umpire and kicking dirt while disputing a call.

When asked about his suspension, Piniella said in an article on ESPN.com, “I will serve it and I will learn from this experience. These things won’t happen again.”

That may be the funniest quote I’ve ever heard.

Piniella has been terrorizing umpires and making a fool of himself over the course of his entire career. For him to say that it won’t happen again is downright laughable. I almost feel bad for the guy because I know ESPN will play that clip after his next meltdown.

Trust me. It’s only a matter of time.

This all brings me to the real issue I have with baseball managers throwing these tantrums. Why are they even allowed to step on the field in the first place?

If a coach steps on the court during an NBA game, it’s an instant technical foul. The National Football League also has no tolerance for this kind of misconduct.

Baseball is the only sport that tolerates its managers to chew out the umpires. Baseball managers are usually so insignificant to the outcome of a game, perhaps they have to act out to get some attention.

Don’t these guys realize how absolutely ridiculous they look while they’re stomping around the infield like babies who have lost their pacifiers?

I’ll admit that I’m very entertained by these idiots. But while it’s amusing, it’s definitely not appropriate. What kind of example are these managers setting for the thousands of kids that attend these games and the hundreds of thousands more who see it played over and over on TV and the Internet. (There were 108,403 views of the Wellman tirade on YouTube at the time I wrote this article.)

These clowns need more than three- and four-game suspensions. They deserve stiff fines and harsher suspensions. I’m actually surprised Wellman still has a job.

Baseball is a sport so steeped in tradition, it will hold on to even the most prehistoric of practices. For example, the bench clearing scuffles that seem to occur every other week. Or the practice of retaliation, where pitchers are actually encouraged to bean batters as a means of sticking up for their teammates.

The sense of tradition that makes baseball America’s past time is simultaneously holding it back. Purists may disagree, but it’s time for baseball to join other professional sports (hockey excluded because fights are the only reason to watch), and think about changing some of its old-time flare.

There may not be a rule in a place to stop managers from bursting onto the field, but that still doesn’t excuse Wellman and Piniella.

So until there’s a rule prohibiting managers disputing a call or the penalty for doing so is increased, I hope to see more tantrums and hissy fits. Sports are supposed to be entertaining, right?

And I can’t think of a more entertaining sight at a ball game than watching a middle-aged man in a baseball uniform loose his mind.

Evan Rudd is a journalism senior and Mustang Daily staff writer.

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