August 28, 2010
This is the best minor-league managerial ejection since Phil Wellman went off three years ago.
Yet, what Gary Robinson of the State College (Pa.) Spikes did Friday night might be better, if only because it's not quite as psychotic.
Thankfully, we have video.
At first, the disagreement between Robinson and umpire Roberto Ortiz looked like any other: Some arguing, followed by nothing. But not 5 seconds after he returned to the dugout, Robinson was thrown out by Ortiz.
Robinson immediately return to the field in a frenzy that included yelling, screaming, kicking dirt on home plate, covering home plate with dirt using his hands and kicking dirt on the umpire.
Robinson then jogged to first base and pulled it out of the ground. Was he going to have a Lou Piniella moment and throw it any old place?
Better. Robinson instead reached inside the front of his jersey and pulled out a pen — like the kind any manager would use to make notations on a lineup card — and he signed the bag.
Robinson said none of his actions were pre-meditated. Too pre-meditated, anyway.
"Impulsively, you do things," Robinson said. "I was walking to first base and I spotted the kid. I said, 'OK, I'm going to do it.' It was just an impulsive thing I did. It wasn't planned."
But Robinson admitted that he wasn't particularly proud of his actions.
"Sometimes you do things to make a point," he said. "At the same time, there’s a lot of times you regret what you do. I tried to give my ballclub a shot in the arm. There's a lot of reasons I did what I did."
One thing you should know about the 57-year-old Robinson: He's a former minor league umpire. So, he knows what it's like to have a manager show him up on the field. It might be why, in part, Robinson tried to ease the tension with some comedy.
His players, including Spikes first baseman Matt Curry, laughed it off.
"Once he picked up the base I didn't know what he was going to do with it then," Curry said. "It's pretty cool that he went over and gave to a fan. It was a pretty good show."
Kozar, who said he frequently attends games with his folks, called the moment "pretty cool," and plans to have the whole team sign the base. What a neat souvenir, and memory, from an otherwise ordinary ballgame.
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