This week marks the anniversary of one of the wildest managerial explosions in baseball history. Mississippi Braves skipper Phillip Wellman put on a show during his tirade against the Chattanooga Lookouts back in 2007, right here in the Scenic City.
Former M-Braves announcer Bryan Eubank, and former Chattanooga Times Free Press sports writer David Uchiyama, recall the night that made Wellman a video sensation.
Said Eubank:”And all of a sudden, it was. It was like a spark went off. And I went oh boy, here we go. But I had never seen a manager cover up the entire area of home plate, and then draw a giant home plate. I will say his geometry of the plate was spot-on. It was perfect.”
Said Uchiyama:”My recollection is whoever was in the box with me. We were trying to figure out and describe all the actions that were taking place because there were so many different things. He has done at least one thing that nobody else has.
(Mimics pulling plug on grenade and tossing it and makes explosion sound) Growing up I always heard that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Well it counted that night.”
Said Eubank:”The entire infield had their gloves over their mouths just trying not to laugh.”
Said Uchiyama:”How often do you go to a baseball game and get three consecutive minutes, every second with a piece of action. Never!”
Said Eubank:”The best part too is he never left the ballpark. He actually went up into the concourse area and walked around and stayed inside the ballpark the rest of the game.”
Said Uchiyama:”Hey! He could have been going to get in line for a Bud Light.” (laughter)
Said Eubank:”In fact by the time we got on the bus, his parents had called. They lived somewhere in Texas. I forget exactly where. But this was early in the internet age. We’re not talking where we are now in social media. So they had already gotten wind of it by the time we got on the bus to leave.”
Said Uchiyama:”What I do know is the Associated Press picked it up (my story), and later next week, I’m doing a similar interview as we are now, with Greta Van Susteren on a national broadcast.”
Said Eubank:”I mean he was a celebrity everywhere we went after that.”
Said Uchiyama:”The old saying. You go to a baseball game, you never know what you are going to see.”