The latest addition to the Cardinals’ organization comes in the form of former minor league manager, Phillip Wellman. Wellman will be the Springfield Cardinals’ (St. Louis’ double A affiliate) new hitting coach for the 2011 season. Why is that significant?
Because Phil Wellman is someone we all know. He’s that song that you do not recognize by name, but you know it when you hear it.
In June of 2007, Wellman went down in history as the minor-league manager who went absolutely nuts at an umpire. He uprooted bases, threw them across the field, and buried home plate with dirt. But it was his pretend ejection of the umpire, army-crawl across the infield, and his use of the rosin bag as a makeshift hand grenade that put his tirade above all the others in baseball history. Heck, in 2009, Sportscenter ranked his escapade as the #1 blowup of all time.
Of course, Wellman isn’t the first hitting coach in the Cardinals’ organization to raise eyebrows. Just last year, the media created a mini-circus around Mark McGwire’s return to baseball after nearly a decade in self-imposed exile. But that circus quickly died down, and Wellman’s arrival won’t even create one with his new minor league contract. Nevertheless, the arrival of Wellman should be interesting. The Braves did keep him in their organization for another three seasons following that seemingly career-ending moment on the diamond. Perhaps he will have a positive impact on the young hitters in the Cardinals’ organization moving forward. And who knows, McGwire’s tenure with the ball club seems to be linked to Tony La Russa’s, and La Russa will likely be retiring soon.
…And wouldn’t that be something if you-know-who got promoted. Then there might just be another circus.