From baby bears to base kicking, let's celebrate the most memorable managing moments of 2016
Above all, a manager is a leader, tasked with getting the best out of his players all season long. Most of the time, this means properly managing the bullpen, calling for a switch-hitter or putting down a squeeze sign. Occasionally, though, the job requires a bit extra: calling on a professional mime, for example, or making perfectly clear to the umpire that you are not pleased with that call and not even the rosin bag is safe.
So, in honor of all the Team Dads of MLB -- and in recognition of their willingness to go above and beyond -- let's take a look back at all of the very best managerial hijinks from the past year.
New frontiers in the art of the ejection
Sure, a manager could simply say his piece and trudge on into the clubhouse, but why go gentle into that good night? Why not take a page out of the Brad Ausmus playbook and leave the home-plate umpire an article of clothing to remember you by:
Or channel N.C. State coach Elliott Avent and pretend you're an extra in Strictly Ballroom:
NC State coach Elliott Avent went CRAZY over this non-strike call! pic.twitter.com/fchtf2GAlK- ESPNU (@ESPNU) June 6, 2016
And, of course, no ejection compilation would be complete without the Minor League Maestro himself, Joe Mikulik. Not even second base was safe:
The year of Joe Maddon
When you help your team end a 108-year championship drought, you get your very own category. Maddon excelled in every possible area in 2016. Fostering team camaraderie? Nothing brings a ballclub together like a minimalist zany suit road trip:
Tactical acumen? Not only did Maddon put multiple pitchers in the outfield, he even orchestrated a walk-off bunt ... by pitcher Jon Lester:
Keeping the team loose? Two words: bear cubs.
The many ways in which Terry Francona has fun at the ballpark
Of course, the man Maddon met in the World Series is no slouch. But despite all of his success, Francona makes sure to never take himself too seriously. Not even Game 1 of the ALCS was enough to disrupt his long-standing tradition of taking a scooter to the ballpark:
And then, with his Indians a win away from a title prior to Game 6, he warmed up in the outfield ... without a shirt:
That expressive joy even extends to his relationship with his players:
Clint Hurdle launches the newest dugout dance craze
At least, uh, we think that's what this was:
"The Sandlot," starring Buck Showalter
Fresh off his admission that he actually had no idea what a "Yoda" was, Showalter doubled down on his official position as Pop Culture Curmudgeon in 2016. Not only did he claim to not know about "Seinfeld" prior to making his cameo on "Seinfeld," but he even made an appearance in the Orioles' 23rd anniversary "Sandlot" video -- in his very own novelty T-shirt:
The ups and downs of Dusty Baker
Repeatedly referring to Bryce Harper as "Royce" might not have been the most auspicious beginning to his Nationals tenure, but don't worry: Baker rebounded. Not only did he guide Washington to the NL East title, but at the team's WinterFest earlier this month, he helped a young fan find his parents:
Bruce Bochy summons the wrong reliever
Late September is a stressful time for a manager. Late September with a late one-run lead against your archrival in a heated divisional race is a really stressful time. So, when Bochy motioned for Steven Koert and got George Kontos instead, he was ... less than pleased:
Hey, there's always next year.