By Laurence W. Holmes–
(CBS) Outside of a game-winning hit or a run-stealing grab, nothing gets a crowd pop like an ejection.
The White Sox have had their share of those lately. Manager Rick Renteria has been tossed in three of the past six games on this current homestand, and Todd Frazier and Tim Anderson have also been run from games.
So I thought I’d ask what happens afterward.
“It’s quiet,” Frazier said. “It’s real quiet. You’re in here (the clubhouse) with your thoughts, just thinking about the next game.”
For some, a replay of the events is on repeat until the game is over. Frazier said you’re just trying to process what happened.
“Some guys black out, some don’t remember what was said,” Frazier said. “Other guys are worried about maybe getting out of there so they don’t get fined a lot more.”
A player can let go, but a manger’s responsibility is a bit different. Old-schoolers tell stories of managers continuing to manage from the tunnel. Bobby Valentine’s fake mustache gambit is infamous.
Renteria can relate.
“It’s not one of the things, believe me, I plan on going out and having done,” Renteria said. “But when it does happen, I go in continue to watch the ballgame inside. I don’t undress. I stay in my clothes, my uniform and watch the game continue to evolve and watch the players.”
Now, former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen used to joke (at least I think he was joking) that when he got ejected, he’d go to his office, grab a drink and watch telenovelas until after the game was over.
Renteria isn’t wired that way. He doesn’t disengage from the game.
“They (the players) deserve to have me still watching them and seeing what they’re doing,” he said. “I still have to address them at some point in time maybe about certain things. So it would be irresponsible of me to go in and just leave it to their own devices. I still have to pay attention to what’s going on and if I have to address something after the game I’m able to address it because I’ve seen it.”
It’s funny though. The preferred method of calming down has to do with grabbing a drink once one hits the clubhouse.
“There’s been times, I’ve gone down in the middle of the game, cracked open a beer and had a little conversation,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told me.
Added Frazier: “In the minor leagues, you shower up if you want, but here … I had a couple of root beers basically. That was it, just hang out and watch the game on TV and think back to really what happened.”
I was curious how the discussion goes later between Hahn and Renteria after the manager gets tossed.
“The broad answer is yes, we have a conversation about what was said and why and what’s going on the field,” Hahn said. “There’s then another conversation usually between me and one of my friends at Major League Baseball about why exactly, what’s going on with this and our side of the story, but in the last few you see him out there defending our players who are perhaps getting run a little more quickly than we would’ve anticipated in a given situation.”
There’s an appreciation from the players when a manager puts himself in harm’s way.
“You don’t want a guy to just sit there and not even come out,” Frazier explained. “Let’s talk to the umpire to get his point across — ‘Why you throwing my guy out, what happened?’ I like that he does what he has to do.”
Renteria isn’t trying to curry favor when he explodes out of the dugout, he said.
“I’m glad that there’s a positive effect after the fact,” Renteria said. “In and of the moment, I’m not really thinking about that.”
Like Renteria has his players’ back, Hahn has his back.
“He’s passionate!” Hahn said. “Look, I don’t think there’s anyone in this ballpark who has any question about his passion or his desire to defend his guys or fight for what he thought it was right. And I think that’s great.”
Renteria is a mild-mannered individual, but he’s starting to get a reputation. In fact, he’s breaking records.
Wednesday’s ejection was Renteria’s fifth of the season, the most for a White Sox manager since Guillen had six in 2010, according to CSN Chicago statistical expert Chris Kamka. There’s still more than half a season to go as well.
In June, Renteria has the distinction of getting run four times in a month (there are still two days left too). That hasn’t happened since Jerry Manuel did it in May 2003.
Renteria makes a point to talk with the umpires when he’s calmed down. If it’s the same crew, he’ll wait until he’s bringing out the lineup card the next day and make a joke out of it.
After he’s been ejected from three of the last six games, I hope Bill Burr is ghost-writing for him.
Laurence Holmes hosts the Laurence Holmes Show on 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @LaurenceWHolmes.