McClendon Not Pleased With Reputation

By Joe Rutter
Updated: June 23, 2005


Lloyd McClendon

PITTSBURGH — He admittedly has a reputation of being a hothead, a manager who can’t control his emotions, a man who relishes confrontations with umpires.

Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said nothing could be further from the truth.

“There’s another side to me other than arguing,” McClendon said.

Funny, but the casual fan would hardly know it from a trip to PNC Park.

Consider the pre-game introductions Wednesday afternoon. When McClendon’s name was announced, the scoreboard showed seven brief scenes of the manager at work, three of which involved arguments with umpires.

Then, before the bottom of the second inning, the infamous scene of McClendon “stealing” first base in 2001 was shown because it was voted as the second-most memorable moment in the ballpark’s five-year history.

“I don’t like any of that stuff,” McClendon said. “I don’t want people to identify me with stealing that base. To me, that’s ridiculous. That’s not who I am. That’s something that happened. It should be over with.”

Still, neither McClendon nor the organization has gone to great lengths to change his reputation.

In spring training, McClendon agreed to film a television commercial that depicted him sitting in the dugout, stomach growling, a sign that he was hungry enough to eat another umpire.

And the team hasn’t exactly shied away from publicizing McClendon’s run-ins with the umpires. A shaded-in section of his biography in the media guide details each of his career ejections.

For the record, McClendon has been ejected 16 times in his managerial career, three this season. The latest came Tuesday night in the seventh inning when he was tossed by umpire Dana DeMuth for kicking dirt on home plate after Bobby Hill was tagged out trying to score.

McClendon thinks a double standard is at work.

“It’s a story when I’m arguing,” McClendon said. “When Lou Piniella does it, he’s motivating his players. When I do it, I need anger management. What’s the difference?”

McClendon said he doesn’t argue for the sake of arguing and maintained he usually has a purpose in mind when he confronts an umpire. His decision can be dictated by the game situation, whether he feels the need to “stick up” for his players or whether he believes an umpire is “nonchalanting things and taking us for granted.”

McClendon also was perplexed that he still has to explain why he didn’t argue last week in New York on a ninth-inning blown call that cost the Pirates a victory.

“I don’t care what people say. I run the club,” he said. “If I’m going to argue to appease (reporters) or to appease fans, then I’m in the wrong business. I’m trying to win baseball games. I’m in the business of winning baseball games, not pleasing people about when I argue or how I argue. That’s absurd.”

McClendon said nothing was mentioned Saturday night in Boston when he intervened during a dispute between catcher Humberto Cota and umpire Ed Rapuano over a checked-swing call on David Ortiz that went against the Pirates.

“That’s what managing is, keeping your players in the game,” he said. “All they saw is I didn’t argue the call (in New York). How about going out and stopping (Cota) from getting kicked out of the game? How about that being a nice move? Instead, it’s always the negative stuff. It’s a crock. That’s what it is.”