When skippers get the old heave-ho

And if the stadium is constructed beneficially, it isn’t particularly hard to remain hidden.

At O.co Coliseum in Oakland, the clubhouse tunnels are far removed from the dugouts. It’s not like a manager can park himself in the tunnel and carry on a conversation with his coaches. San Francisco’s AT&T Park gives its managers better vantage points, but exposes them to being spotted. Other facilities are more forgiving.

“I think of an Anaheim,” A’s broadcaster Ray Fosse said. “In Anaheim, you walk down the stairs and you can look up. The umpires can’t see you, but your bench coach can just stand there like this and you say, ‘Hey, make a move.’ ”

Fosse noted that such side-mouth whispering was more easily accomplished in baseball’s older stadiums, many of them gone now.

“I think of Memorial Stadium, where the Orioles played,” he said. “And I think of Earl Weaver. I mean, he would just – dugout’s here, walkway’s there, he’d just stand there. He’s within shouting distance.”

Tom Kelly (remarkably, just five ejections in 2,385 games) was based at the Metrodome for his 16 seasons managing the Twins.

“There were 44 steps that go down or up between the clubhouse and the dugout,” said Kelly, who does studio work for the Twins. “There were two doors at the bottom of the dugout there, and you could leave one of the doors open. Sometimes it would be open, sometimes closed, but mostly it was open. You could actually close one and sit there if you wanted.”

As an active manager, Melvin has to be a little more guarded in his comments. At first he denied ever having a back-door channel to the dugout. But he couldn’t help himself.

“You know what? I got one,” Melvin said. “One time in Detroit, years back. It’s a couple steps down, so you can mosey over there and kind of peek in. You don’t get a very good perspective there, but you feel a little bit closer to the action. I’ve done that once. But it really didn’t do anything for me, because I couldn’t see what was going on.”

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