Incidentally, Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Lou Pinella is my hero. He has been for years, but after the Rays’ one-run loss last night, he reminded me why. He takes the manager’s tirade to a point of high artistic merit. Whether he’s screaming at the press (like last night) or dressing down his players (like last night) or tossing things around the infield to protest an umpire’s call (not like last night, unfortunately), he always makes the game entertaining.
Which leads to my list: the most entertaining Manager/Coaches of my lifetime.
1. Pinella – he curses, he screams, he picks up bases and throws them, then replaces them, the throws them again just for good measure, then picks them up again and throws again just to test his long-game. I’ve seen the hammer throw and discuss, maybe Lou’s just ahead of the game on baseball’s next evolution.
2. Lloyd McLendon, Pittsburgh Pirates – He hasn’t been in the managerial game for long, but I have a soft spot for him because the cadence of his name always intrigued me when I read it on baseball cards in the mid-80s. His managerial highlight came when he stole first base…by picking it up and taking it to the clubhouse with him after he was ejected for arguing a bang-bang call at first.
3. Earl Weaver – I was pretty young when Earl last managed the Orioles, but I can still remember arguing calls in dirt-lot kickball, kicking dirt on my opponent’s shoes, and being inwardly proud to imitate old Earl. In the 120-year history of baseball, he couldn’t have been the first manager to build sand castles on the ump’s shoes, but I can only picture his pudgy, orange-and-black visage engaging in that classic protest.
4. Mark Cuban, owner, Dallas Mavs – ok, he ‘s not a coach or manager, but he’s too entertaining to ignore. Cuban is what i’ve always wanted to be: a dorky kid who happens to own a billion-dollar band account and a professional sports franchise. Or, if nothing else, I’ve always dreamed of working at Dairy Queen.
That’s all i feel like coming up with right now. Hopefully I’ll add to the list as more ideas come to mind.