Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - In this July 26, 2008 file photo, Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, left, argues with third base umpire Brian Gorman, right, after first base umpire Rob Drake ejected Piniella during the ninth inning of their baseball game against the Florida Marlins at Wrigley Field in Chicago. With baseball's expanded replay rule this season, those colorful, saliva-trading tirades Bobby Cox and Lou Piniella made famous could very well be replaced by far more civilized behavior. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
MLB: Expanded replay might make for better manners
First Published Apr 11 2014 09:38 am • Last Updated Apr 12 2014 04:00 pm

Oakland, Calif. • Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona calmly exited the dugout on opening night and approached home plate umpire Mike Winters with a rather polite request that he review a collision at the plate.

Winters obliged, then confirmed his call 59 seconds later via replay, hardly a harsh word exchanged in a moment emotions used to run high. With baseball’s expanded replay rules, those colorful, saliva-trading tirades that often punctuated games could very well be replaced by far more civilized behavior around big league ballparks this year.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Fewer four-letter words? Manners in baseball? Maybe so.

"The umpires are instructed that if you come out and say something wrong they won’t jump down your throat. They’re instructed to maybe walk you through it," said Francona, never among the most fiery managers, but one with lower stress levels since leaving Boston. "Everybody is learning."

There might even be healthier shoulders for umpires, too, as they make fewer emphatic, wind-up ejection signals to send a manager to the showers.

Through Wednesday’s games, in a count by MLB and STATS, there had been 64 replays with 21 of those overturned — 19 of 48 on manager challenges, and two among 16 umpire-initiated reviews such as the one requested by Francona.

"I think some of the longer heated arguments are gone," San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You’ll just challenge now."

There were 85 total managerial ejections in 2013, and 82 players thrown out.

The new rules could dramatically change the tone of watching a game. After all, the rants that Bobby Cox, Lou Piniella and Earl Weaver became known for are part of baseball history offering plenty of entertainment value.

Weaver, who managed the Orioles for 17 years, would certainly protest. Never one to shy away from an animated altercation, the late Hall of Fame manager used to kick dirt at umpires or onto home plate. Piniella, who managed the Yankees, Mariners, Cubs and two other teams, had a penchant for tossing a base or punting his cap during a tantrum. Newly elected Hall of Famer Cox retired from the Braves in 2010 with most managerial ejections in major league history at 158.

story continues below
story continues below

Angels pitcher Jered Weaver figures plenty of fans will miss that in-your-face interaction between manager and umpire.

"There are a lot of fans that come for that reason — the aggressive coach, or the taking out of bases," he said. "But at the same time, we’re in an era where we want to get everything right."

In some managers’ offices, reminder cards hang from bulletin boards with lists of what plays a manager can challenge under the new expanded replay and which ones are up to umpire discretion and can be requested by the manager.

The art of the tirade has long been about more than letting tempers flare. There’s a psychological component: Those classic, highlight-reel encounters with umpires often are a manager’s way of backing up a player or defending his team.

"I think a part of the game is that interaction between the manager and the umpire, because sometimes managers use that for the motivation of the team to let them know, ‘I’m in this with you,’" former Mets and White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "Bobby Cox was the best at that, the best at protecting his players at all cost: ‘We are against that team and we are against these umpires.’"

On opening day in Milwaukee, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez became the first skipper to issue a challenge when first base umpire Greg Gibson ruled Ryan Braun safe at first in the sixth inning. Gibson’s call was overturned, and Gonzalez shrugged with a slight smile as if to say, "I told you so."

There’s some strategy involved for first-year Tigers manager Brad Ausmus when making a challenge. It’s a different approach now that arguments are likely to be less common.

"Normally the manager would go out there to scream and yell but it doesn’t make sense to go out there and scream and yell if they know you have a challenge," Ausmus said. "In essence, I’m really just taking my time getting out there so we can get a determination from our video room as to whether we should use the challenge. It’s a little awkward because I really don’t have much to say."

For many veteran managers, keeping relatively quiet is a strange concept that forces an adjustment. In April 2013, 11 managers were ejected. A season-long decline is certainly expected under the new rules, though a manager can still be tossed for griping about balls and strikes.

"I don’t think it eliminates them. I think it cuts down on them, because once they go look at replay, then you’re basically told not to come back out," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "If you do, then you’ll probably get thrown out of the game pretty quickly."

Pittsburgh’s Clint Hurdle figures managers might leave the ballpark at night with some pent-up frustration on occasion when they haven’t had a chance to blow off steam at an umpire.

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.