Halloween isn’t until the end of October, but the ghost of Earl Weaver noticed that haunting MLB stadiums would mean missing baseball season, so he’s instead decided to have some fun haunting the Cincinnati Reds in the middle of summer.
That’s as good an explanation as any for the behavior of Reds manager David Bell, who in just 95 games of his first year managing in the big leagues, has already set the Reds’ record for ejections in a single season with seven.
Bell is tied with Detroit’s Ron Gardenhire across MLB for most times getting tossed this year, as the hot-headed Tigers skipper has likewise been given the heave-ho seven times.
The previous record for managerial ejections in a single season in Cincinnati? Six, by Clark Griffith, whose record had stood for 110 years since Griffith set it in 1909 and tied it a year later.
Eugenio Suárez and David Bell have been ejected. For Bell, it is his seventh ejection of the season, establishing a new single-season franchise record for managers. Clark Griffith was ejected six times in both 1909 (as player-manager) and 1910 (as manager). #Reds
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 19, 2019
Bell has a ways to go to catch the all-time leaders for ejections in a single season.
John McGraw was a man so notoriously cantankerous that the 1904 World Series was canceled because his New York Giants didn’t want to risk losing to an upstart American League team the way Pittsburgh had to the Boston Americans in 1903 in the first ever World Series.
McGraw, who didn’t like American League president Ban Johnson on a personal level, reportedly called the series that has come to define the month of October in sports “a haphazard box-office game with Ban Johnson and Company.”
McGraw, unsurprisingly, holds the record for most ejections in a season with 11, and seems to have been as friendly toward umpires as he was toward league executives.
McGraw’s record was later tied by Bill Dahlen in 1911 and Bobby Cox in 2001.
Bell and Gardenhire’s seven ejections already ranks 47th in a single season. And despite not even finishing his first-ever season as a Major League skipper, Bell is tied for 185th place among all managers in MLB history for most ejections.
Weaver, the Orioles’ notoriously fiery skipper whose antics when arguing with umpires are legendary, was ejected nine times in 1975, ’76 and ’79, and stands fourth all time.
He also engaged in perhaps the greatest manager’s hissy fit ever when he was caught on a live mic giving Bill Haller all he wanted in 1980 (strong language warning).
Unfortunately for Bell, unlike those Hall of Famers at the top of the ejections list, his managerial career is off to a less than stellar start.
The Reds lost 12-11 to the Cardinals on Friday night and stand at 43-52, dead last in the NL Central, despite scoring 28 more runs than they’ve allowed this season.
The culprit? Cincinnati has 20 losses in one-run games, the most in baseball, and that’s the kind of thing sports radio callers love to blame the manager for on the afternoon drive-time shows.
It seems like manager tempers and last place are positively correlated.
Gardenhire’s Tigers, at 29-64, have the worst record in all of MLB, and Bell’s Reds are ahead of only the woeful Miami Marlins for worst record in the National League.
Whether the Reds ride out what the stats say is just bad luck or whether they make wholesale changes at the trade deadline to blow the team up and start over remains to be seen.
But one constant will be their rookie manager making umpires’ lives miserable for as long as he’s in the dugout.
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