Double-A skipper suspended for meltdown
PEARL, Miss. – A major league meltdown by a minor league manager earned him a three-game suspension and worldwide fame on the Internet.
Combining bits of Earl Weaver, Billy Martin and Lou Piniella, the weekend tantrum by Double-A manager Phillip Wellman prompted his bosses at the Atlanta Braves to take action Monday.
The Mississippi Braves manager went wild during his team’s 7-6 loss at Chattanooga at Friday. His tirade took him on a tour of the diamond as he covered home plate with dirt, threw a base and crawled to the mound.
Wellman and the club declined comment, spokesman Nicholas Skinner said.
A Southern League executive declined to talk about a likely suspension or fine from the league.
“The league president is working on that right now,” said Lori Webb, vice president of operations. “Obviously appropriate action will be taken, but nothing will be released to the public about that.”
Wellman came storming out of the dugout after the plate umpire ejected pitcher Kelvin Villa for apparently using a foreign substance.
Wellman threw his hat, then began shouting and framing the face of the umpire with his hands about 6 inches apart.
After that, he got down on one knee, piled dirt on home plate and used a finger to outline the shape of the plate. He stalked to third base, pulled up the bag and walked toward second, and tossed third base into the outfield.
Then he dropped on his belly and pantomimed a military crawl to the edge of pitcher’s mound, where he picked up the rosin bag. He pretended it was a grenade, pulled an imaginary pin with his teeth and launched it toward the plate umpire, hitting his left foot.
Wellman motioned that he was ejecting the umpire, picked up second base, walked into the outfield and picked up the bag he’d tossed. He walked toward the outfield gate with both bases.
Before leaving the field, he turned, blew kisses to the wildly cheering crowd and waved his fist in salute and left.
ESPN played extensive segments of the tirade through the weekend and the video has been viewed more than 61,000 times on YouTube.
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