Sensing his team needed a kick in the pants, Wichita Wingnuts manager Kash Beauchamp set out to get ejected on purpose. He even told his pitching coach to get ready.
Beauchamp held true to his word, but took it a little too far, letting loose a spit-flying, shoe-slamming, armpit-showing tirade that left him standing on the field in his red socks and earned him a four-game suspension.
"I regret it, I really do," Beauchamp said Friday after the independent American Association handed down the suspension. "I don't regret getting ejected and I don't regret trying to fire up my team, but I think I went too far, there's no doubt about it."
Beauchamp's meltdown came in the nightcap of a doubleheader against Sioux Falls on Wednesday in Kansas.
The Wingnuts had lost a blowout to the Canaries in the series opener, followed by a disheartening 2-1 loss in the first game of the doubleheader. Believing his team was still flat, Beauchamp warned pitching coach Luke Robertson that he was probably going to get ejected on the next bad call in an effort to bring some life to his players.
He followed through after a check-swing call by plate umpire Blake Felix in the second inning, throwing down his hat and letting loose a flurry of expletives as he charged from the third-base coaching box.
Beauchamp then went nose-to-nose with Felix at the plate, bobbing his head around as he argued.
"Looking back at the video, I didn't realize my head was bouncing around like that," he said. "I'm lucky I didn't dislocate my freakin' neck."
But the bobblehead move was only the beginning.
After kicking dirt around the plate, Beauchamp ripped off his shoe and waved it in front of Felix, then pulled back his sleeve and stuck his armpit in the umpire's face -- two gestures meant to tell Felix that he stinks.
The mostly one-sided argument continued with Beauchamp accidentally kicking off his other shoe, leaving him to dance around in red stocking socks, then throwing his chewing tobacco to the ground.
"I did not spit like Roberto Alomar -- it was nothing even remotely close to what Roberto Alomar did -- but in talking some of it [the chew] flew out and hit him in the face," Beauchamp said. "When I saw that, I backed off and took my dip out. That was probably the only moment of sanity I really had because I wouldn't spit on my worst enemy."
It didn't slow him down, though.
Beauchamp picked up his second shoe and slammed it to the turf, then went into the Wingnuts' dugout and fished out a batting doughnut from a bag, pairing it with another to make a mock pair of eyeglasses before slamming both weights down.
After more than a minute of rage, Beauchamp started to wind down. He retrieved his hat from near the coach's box, then shouted a few more choice words at Felix as he walked toward the dugout.
Beauchamp, still walking around in his red socks, waited momentarily at the rail for a bat boy to bring his shoes, then finally walked off the field.
"I just kind of melted down right there," Beauchamp said. "I just thought I could get the club fired up, but obviously looking at the tape, it definitely went further than I wanted it to go. I lost my focus, I lost my cool and I did some things I regret."
One reason Beauchamp took it a little too far was his emotional state.
He spent the previous night and most of that morning in a Tulsa, Okla., hospital with his 94-year-old grandmother, who was gravely ill. Beauchamp struggled with the death of his father, Jim, a former Atlanta Braves coach, this past Christmas and had a hard time seeing his grandmother in so much pain.
"It was just one of those days when I was emotionally raw to begin with," he said. "Then to lose a game like that to a team that had dominated us pretty much all season, it was just a really frustrating situation."
At least Beauchamp's original intention worked: Wichita beat Sioux Falls 5-2. But now the manager won't be eligible to return to the field until Tuesday at the start of a three-game series in Fort Worth, Texas, and he'll have to pay an undisclosed fine.
The tirade was similar to one made by Mississippi Braves manager Phillip Wellman last season that was widely circulated on the Internet.
During his wild tantrum, Wellman piled dirt on home plate, pulled up a base and chucked it across the field, then pantomimed a military crawl to the edge of pitcher's mound, where he picked up the rosin bag and pretended it was a grenade.
The Atlanta Braves suspended Wellman for three games. They brought him back this season to run the Double-A affiliate.