In his most publicly senile moment as Angels manager yet, Mike Scioscia went to the mound to take out reliever Nick Maronde with the count 3 balls 1 strike. Mike Butcher had already visited Maronde once. Sciosica might have mistaken the count as having yielded a walk as Maronde was mind-numbingly throwing ball after ball after ball.
The first base umpire shooshed him away. It was unclear as to whether he wanted to talk to Maronde, pull Maronde or was sonambulistically walking towards a slice of pepperoni pizza in the field seats near 3B.
The rules state:
A professional league shall adopt the following rule pertaining to the visit of the manager or coach to the pitcher
(a) This rule limits the number of trips a manager or coach may make to any one pitcher in any one inning;
(b) A second trip to the same pitcher in the same inning will cause this pitcher's automatic removal;
(c) The manager or coach is prohibited from making a second visit to the mound while the same batter is at bat, but
(d) if a pinch-hitter is substituted for this batter, the manager or coach may make a second visit to the mound, but must remove the pitcher.
A manager or coach is considered to have concluded his visit to the mound when he leaves the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s rubber.
Scioscia did cross the foul line before he heard the screaming umpire, but he did not enter into the 18 foot circle around the pitching rubber known as the mound.
The game continued but it was one of those moments where the once mighty Scioscia who could do no wrong, who pressed every button right, who squeezed when the infield was back and had the runners steal when the curveball was coming...well here he was reduced to looking like a lost old man (although he is only 55 he looks closer to 70 than to 50), unaware of the simplest surface intrigue in the game.
Maronde walked the next batter and Scioscia removed him from the game in favor of Dane De La Rosa. We can never look at Scioscia the same.
In 1988, Angels manger Cookie Rojas crossed the line twice to talk to the same pitcher. The umpires explained what he had done when he didn't take the pitcher out and he looked embarrassed, confused, upset and apologetic. He was fired the next day with only eight games left in the season (not to be outdone, his bench coach Moose Stubing went 0-8 in the final week-plus).
We might never look at Mike the same because we seriously might not be looking at Mike much longer.
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