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The Ump And The Manager
Ron Luciano
March 01, 1982
When an irresistible force (Umpire Ron Luciano) met a reprovable—and removable—object (Oriole Manager Earl Weaver), the outcome was very often ejection
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March 01, 1982

The Ump And The Manager

When an irresistible force (Umpire Ron Luciano) met a reprovable—and removable—object (Oriole Manager Earl Weaver), the outcome was very often ejection

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Weaver was on me in an instant, screaming about my making a mockery of the game. I told him it was just a joke, he said I was just a joke, and I changed the call.

With other managers, Ralph Houk for example, when a game's over, it's done. He never holds a grudge, and umpires appreciate that. Weaver never forgets. He's convinced all umpires hold grudges against him. Once, in 1975, we got into an argument about a play at third base, and he screamed at me, "You couldn't get that play right in Elmira, and you still can't get it right."

If I had been clever enough, I would have asked him to at least appreciate the fact that I was consistent, but I didn't think of it. All I could think about was that this man accused other people of holding grudges and he was still angry about a play that had taken place 10 years earlier. There was only one thing to say to him. Goodby.

Surprisingly I usually got along very well with Baltimore's catchers. I think I was sorry for them. Earl Williams wasn't a great catcher, but he disliked Weaver more than I did, so with that in common we became good friends. The only thing we ever argued about was who Weaver yelled at more. "You think he yells at you?" Williams would complain. "You should hear what he yells at me."

"I don't know about that," I'd reply. "The guy's on my back every pitch."

"Sure, but that's only during the game." he'd counter. "At least you don't have to listen to him in the clubhouse."

"That's true," I'd say, "but he doesn't talk about you in the papers."

"Weekly or daily?"

Elrod Hendricks, on the other hand, tried to serve as a buffer between me and Weaver. "Now, Ron, just relax," he'd caution when he felt Weaver was really getting to me. "You know Earl. He's not happy unless he's not happy."

In Weaver's war with umpires he has even sought a technological advantage. The Orioles installed a closed-circuit television system in Memorial Stadium and put monitors, television sets, in their clubhouse. Whenever there was a close play on the field, someone would run into the clubhouse to check the replay and signal the result to a coach standing in the corner of the dugout, who would relay the signal to Weaver, usually already en route to his argument. They had one signal if the umpire was correct, another if he was wrong. If the replay showed the umpire had blown the play, Weaver would be all over him, but if it showed the umpire had made the right call, he'd leave after putting up a perfunctory fight.

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