When players and managers argue…
One of the many things I love about Phil Garner is how he handled tense times. For instance, there was one time when he went to the mound to remove a pitcher from the game. Only this pitcher wasn’t ready leave. And for a tense second or two, he refused to leave.
I’m not naming names. Okay, I am: Chris Bosio, who is now the Cubs pitching coach and also one of the real good guys in the game.
Bosio was a tenacious competitor as a pitcher. In other words, he could be a red ass. He’s also a tenacious competitor as a pitching coach.
You probably know guys like Chris Bosio. His teammates and coaches and managers loved him. Those guys in the other dugout probably didn’t.
Anyway after this one game, Garner, then the first-year manager of the Brewers in 1992, summoned Bosio into his office.
And they started to scream.
And scream some more.
Here’s the best part of the story. After they’d gone back and forth awhile, and then some more and then some more, Garner sat back down in his chair.
“Bosio,” he said, “you’ve worn me out.”
And that was that.
But they reached an agreement.
“I know you didn’t want to come out of that game,” Garner said.
“I’ll make you a deal,” Garner said. “I’ll leave you in games, but you have to promise to tell me when I need to come get you.”
As player-manager disagreements go, this had one of the great outcomes of all-time. Bosio was 10-2 with a 2.94 ERA after that confrontation.
Apart from that, the two men became lifelong friends.
I thought of Scrapiron and Bosio this week in the wake of two player-manager confrontations.
One of them had a very nice ending. The other is still unfolding.
First, the good one. When Rangers manager Jeff Banister approached outfielder Shin Soo-Choo after a loss to discuss a defensive play, the player bristled.
He said he didn’t appreciate being asked about the play. He didn’t like reporters asking about it, either.
And the next day, it was over. Banister and Choo met, discussed it and moved on.
“This is like a family here,” Choo said after the meeting. “We want to do everything the right way, but that doesn’t always happen. The important thing is that we are on the same page.”
And there’s Red Sox starter Wade Miley.
He blew up in the dugout when John Farrell removed him from the game. I would chalk that moment up to a heat-of-the-moment incident.
He has had a poor season and would have preferred to be left in the game to figure things out. His big mistake was that his tantrum was caught on cameras, thus making it a story.
His second–and bigger mistake–came after the game when he pretty clearly declined to admit he was wrong. Meanwhile, Farrell handled it perfectly. Like Banister, he mentioned the player’s competitive fires.
If Miley had admitted his mistake, it could have largely defused the situation. His refusal to do so means the incident will linger for a day or two around a team that is seven games under .500 and seven games out of first place.
Again, it’s easy to understand that he was angry at being taken out of the game. It’s not so easy to understand that even after having some time to think about it, he declined to admit he was wrong.
Hopefully, 24 hours later, he feels differently.