The Chicago Cubs organization raised some eyebrows in June when it hired Manny Ramirez to be a player-coach for its Class AAA team in Iowa. Team president Theo Epstein earnestly believes, with good reason, that Ramirez will be a positive influence on the kids — despite Manny's reputation for being, well, Manny.
But did it ever occur to Epstein that Ramirez might have to act as the team's manager if an unlikely series of events happened? Minor-league coaching staffs are much smaller than those in the majors. Usually, it's a manager, a pitching coach and a batting coach. Iowa having Manny as a coach is a luxury, relatively speaking.
But Manny being manager?! Well, he came darned close to managing on Tuesday night.
After an umpire ejected top prospect Kris Bryant for arguing a called-third strike, Iowa's manager, Marty Pevey, came out to stick up for Bryant. He also got ejected. Normally, this would be no big deal, because batting coach Brian Harper and pitching coach Bruce Walton would be there to steward the team home. ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers was in town to cover Bryant, and took note of the developing situation:
Ramirez already was coaching first:
Harper was away on personal leave, and Walton was not too ambulatory because he's recovering from knee surgery. If Walton had to leave the dugout to change pitchers or something, but couldn't because of his injury, then Manny would have to do it! Or... what if Walton got ejected too, like Rogers said?
No such luck.
Darn! So close a humorous situation becoming the funniest fun event in minor-league history.
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