Bobby Valentine was ejected and wore a disguise in the dugout 18 years ago today
When ejected, most managers simply return to the clubhouse for the rest of the ballgame. However, Bobby Valentine was not like most managers.
Eighteen years ago today, Valentine's Mets were locked in a tense extra-innings matchup with the Blue Jays. The teams were tied, 3-3, in the top of the 12th with Shannon Stewart on first and Craig Grebeck at the plate against Pat Mahomes. Stewart darted for second on a steal attempt, and Mike Piazza tried to throw him out.
The result was chaos.
Home plate umpire Randy Marsh ruled that Piazza went too far in front of the plate to catch the ball, and the interference call put Grebeck and Stewart on first and second. Valentine was furious and argued with Marsh, only to find himself ejected within a minute.
To his credit, Mahomes worked out of it by inducing a foul popup from Jacob Brumfield and striking out Carlos Delgado. The game continued, and before long, a familiar face reemerged in the Mets' dugout:
No, that wasn't the reincarnation of Groucho Marx -- it was Bobby V. The Mets' announcers couldn't hold back their laughter as they accidentally exposed him.
The skipper's disguise was the talk of the town the next day, though he initially denied that it was him. Regardless, the league wasn't amused. Valentine was fined $5,000 and suspended two games.
So, was Valentine bothered at all? Yes and no. "I regret it," he said. "It's going to cost me a lot of money. I don't regret the fact that it lightened the team."
It might have worked. The Mets won the game in the 14th on a walk-off single by Rey Ordonez, and they went on to make their first playoff appearance in 11 years.