June 19, 2009

Baseball Managers - a weighty issue

It used to be easy to pick the manager out in a dugout. He was the only one with white hair, an enormous belly and orthopedic sneakers instead of cleats.

Now Major league baseball is gradually shifting from older managers to younger ones, and the same trend is occurring with coaches in the NBA.

Many of the old school managers had a big boiler, something that reminded you what happened to a man whose daily diet consisted of fried chicken steak and beers from the clubhouse spread.

But back in the day, waistline equaled wisdom. Current Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu looks like a model from a Bowflex commercial. This is wrong. The presence of a pot belly in the dugout is part of baseball.

I enjoyed when managers made their way to the pitching mound, where the pot belly was on full display. To me, they always looked like an old man in a Halloween costume.

Tommy Lasorda, Don Zimmer, Lou Piniella and others would often unbutton the bottom two snaps of the warm up jacket in an attempt to mask the expanding waistline. This classic boiler-hiding method is still employed by managers and portly pitching coaches today.

Only a svelte skipper like Sparky Anderson could button that elastic lining around his hips and not look like the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Joe Maddon, the Tampa Bay Rays manager, had an old-school beer belly going for awhile, but slimmed down. I was very disappointed. His horn rim glasses and big gut were a sight for sore eyes. Very 1968.

Other current managers, like Wakamatsu and Jim Tracy, look like they could run a marathon and have energy afterwards for a game of horse. These guys need to cut the aerobics and go back to whiskey and chewing tobacco.

No-one defies the mold like Washington Nationals skipper Manny Acta, who looks totally bad-ass, like an ultimate fighting champion or the head of a Colombian drug cartel. 

Which reminds me, has anyone checked the outfield lining at RFK stadium for heroin? I'm just saying ... ya' never know.

Finally, a manager's trip to the pitchers mound, once an opportunity to fix a sandwich, is now a brisk one.

It used to be a test of a guy's hip replacement and pacemaker. But the new managers sprint. That leaves no time for fans to boo.

I wouldn't trust a manager without white hair or a beer belly. At the very least, they have to take Flomax. Or wear a pair of orthopedic sneaks.


Nats fan said...

Acta has not been fired.

Billy Vasquez said...

Funny post! To this day, when I watch highlights or a Dogers game, Tommy Lasorda's elbow-back waddle-strut to the mound is still a funny memory.