It’s not only the walk-offs, the grand slams, the perfect games, and the excitement of the postseason that make baseball a sport of utter entertainment. It’s the bench-clearing brawls, the broken bats, the punching the water coolers, the charging the mound, and the thrilling ejections too. It’s the idea that one split-second play or call could directly affect the outcome of the game, right down to each ball and strike. Last week, ValleyCats Manager Stubby Clapp engaged in his own “Sweet Lou” Piniella/Ozzie Guillen-esque (which if you want a good laugh you should follow Ozzie on twitter but you may need to translate some tweets) performance of arguing a third called strike. However, Clapp’s show he put on was filled with probably an equal amount of anger as Lou or Ozzie but definitely more wit and imitation.
Clapp’s extensive background in baseball includes playing 11 years professionally and appearing on the Canadian Olympic team (’04, ’08) and in the World Baseball Classic (’06, ’09). Highly revered by his players and colleagues, his recent ejection stint that has received nationwide attention, only proved yet again, his sheer passion for managing (and got a little rise out of the crowd in Troy.)
Clapp did the usual: pointing harshly at home plate, abruptly tossing his helmet down to bounce of the infield grass, yelling so closely that he painted the umpires’ faces with his angry saliva, and of course belting out choice phrases that would trigger a series of censored blurbs if aired on television.
But he added a creative, unique, “Clapp-like” spin to this ejection. He crouched down, mid-argument, behind the plate reenacting the catcher and where he believed the pitches crossed the plate. The umpire ruled the pitch a strike, while the batter, IF Matt Duffy, and Clapp pleaded the ball graced him. Apparently this was after, the almost exact same play was ruled against the ‘Cats’ favor during their previous homestand, which is surely what urged Clapp’s patience to boil over.
He then mimicked the umpire’s motions, displaying that he believed the umpire should also be tossed out. As I watch the video over and over, I can’t help but think of Rick Moranis in the movie “Little Giants” when he’s in front of the mirror practicing arguing with a referee, “Oh no ya don’t…ya can’t! This team has come too far to be shot down on a lousy call…watch the grabbin’ zebra, they’re givin’ ‘em the business out there! Huh? What do you mean you’re throwing me out? I’ll throw you out! I’ll throw your mother out!”
Oh yeah, and what they don’t show on the video is after Clapp headed back into the dugout he proceeded to chuck multiple bats out of the dugout, on to the field, to leave his final thoughts with the two umpires of the game. This just goes to show, as Will Ferrell’s impression of Harry Caray on Saturday Night Live, would say, “HAAAAAAAY! That’s what makes baseball such a craaaaaazy game!”
To watch the Youtube video of the ejection, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1egnixqBlw.