This is video of Rome Braves (Atlanta’s single-A affiliate) manager Randy Ingle, um, disagreeing with an umpire.
What’s beautiful about this video is not only Ingle’s antics, which are priceless and call to mind Lou Piniella, but THAT I KNOW RANDY INGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Randy is a wonderful, wonderful man, and I’ve known him for about 10 years, dating back to my days at The Daily Courier in Forest City. Randy and his family are all from Forest City, and with his running a winter baseball camp in his hometown every year, I got to know Randy and his family pretty well. They are all great people, and Ingle’s Winter Ball camp always featured up-and-coming Braves, from Kevin Millwood to Kelly Johnson to Jeff Francoeur, and was annually a huge hit in the foothills of North Carolina.
One summer, when Randy was managing the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, he offered me a chance to come spend a weekend with him and do a day-in-the-life story. It was a fantastic time, from hanging out in his office in the clubhouse (and being asked to step out for a minute while he talked to John Schuerholz on the phone) to going out for drinks after a couple of games to watching two games from the Pelicans dugout. Yeah, that happened.
What also happened came on the day of the day-in-the-life story, which included interesting chores for the manager, and gave you a good idea of the minor league lifestyle. Put it this way — one task involved Randy picking out five movies from the video store for the next week’s 14-hour bus ride.
Anyway, when it came time for the game — four hours after we got to the clubhouse for the day — Randy penciled in 19-year-old phenom Adam Wainright to pitch. What a perfect story this was turning out to be.
And then it ended.
In the first inning.
Because after a disputed safe call at the plate on a play involving Wainright, Ingle burst out of the dugout, turned his hat around backwards and gave it to the umpire full force, eventually kicking dirt on the ump. Naturally, Randy was thrown out of the game, giving me the most perfect denouement to my story.
We shared a heckuva laugh after that game in his office, and it gave me one of the great stories of my career.
Want to know something even more bizarre? The ump Randy got into an argument with at the Pelicans game? His name was Brian Kennedy. Big deal, right? Except that I WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH HIM!!!!!!!!!!!
No doubt, one of my favorite nights of all time. And seeing this video, first on Keith Olberman’s “Countdown” show on MSNBC, brought back a slew of fun memories.
I hope to talk soon with Randy, who has managed in Durham and Richmond, from rookie ball to Triple-A, and has even seen time on a big-league bench with the Braves. Until then, I can now see him anytime I want.
What a game.
What a job I have.