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May 31, 2013

Pebble Hunting

Every Manager's Face, Part 1

by Sam Miller

On every major-league team, in every major-league dugout, you will find the same thing: A manager, with a face. This is important to remember if you ever find yourself filming a baseball game for a regional sports network, because the manager's face is the spine of your narrative. Every manager's face is different, but every manager's face is important, and every manager's face can be counted on to do some sort of Manager Face thingy when the manager's team screws up.

We now embark on a tour of the Manager's Faces in Major League Baseball today. The exact context of these faces isn't terribly important, but know that every face is motivated by chagrin, caused by either a team miscue (usually a bases-loaded walk, a fielding error, or bad baserunning), an umpire's call, or some sort of bad luck. We will start with our first set of 10. Others to follow at some point soon. 

Bo Porter Face, Or: I May Have Made a Terrible Mistake

Act 1: Partakes of blind taste test; concludes whatever he is eating tastes like crap.
Act 2: Occurs to him that it really, literally tastes like crap. Possible he’s just eaten crap?

From certain angle, will never be mistaken for: Eddie Izzard

John Gibbons Face, Or: I Am A Zombie Who Subsists Solely on Sunflower Seeds

Act 1:
Gibbons: This sunflower seed shell does not appeal to me
Estragon: Is it the shell’s job to appeal to you, or your job to be appealed to?
Gibbons: Is the question worth bothering over?
Estragon: You mean to say?
Gibbons: Only that my decision is the same either way.
Estragon: But are your motives?
Gibbons: Are motives to be concerned with?
Estragon: Only in life.
Gibbons: But in hell.
Estragon: Hoho, no, never in death.
Gibbons: Are we in hell?
Estragon: Imbecile! In death!
Gibbons: I thought you said in Hell.
Estragon: In hell, in hell.
Gibbons: So you said.
Estragon: Did I? It must be.
Gibbons: In that case, I reject this sunflower seed shell.
Estragon: Then reject, yes, reject.

Act 2:
Estragon: You have sunflower seed shell on your lip.

From certain angle, will never be mistaken for: Marshall Crenshaw

Ron Roenicke Face, Or: Never Let 'Em See You Sweat, But a Heavy Sigh is Okay to Be Seen By 'Em

Act 1: Roenicke stares longingly into the distance, capturing both the dislocated anxiety we all share and the particular strand of ennui that is unique to those who inherit privilege.
Act 2 (not shown): Director adds Rolling Stones soundtrack and on-screen Futura Extra Bold caption, movie underperforms at box office relative to its impressive ensemble cast.

From certain angle, will never be mistaken for: A pirate

Jim Leyland Face, Or: The Theme from Jaws Plays

Act 1: A solitary figure in a black robe glides slowly across the green expanse. His target is an old man in a child’s hat. The old man doesn’t see the solitary figure, but he can nevertheless feel his stare, tugging at him like a warm undercurrent. The figure reaches his target and extends a hand, and for the first time the old man sees the powerful force that had been pulling at him. The figure's eyes are obscured by the drape of his cloak’s hood, but the man in the hat can somehow see into them, can see the cold yet generous offer that the figure brings. The figure stares, and the old man stares. They stare at each other.

Act 2: A solitary figure carries a heavy, lifeless body off the main road and deep into the woods. Deeper, and deeper; it’s not the first body he has had to bury, and it won’t be the last, yet he takes his time to find the right spot. Finally, he comes to a patch of hazel and carefully lays the body down to rest. Then he turns back toward the road, adjusts the child's hat on his old-man head, and begins the long walk back to his car. “You come at the king you best not miss,” Jim Leyland whispers to himself, knowing God will overhear him.

From a certain angle, will never be mistaken for: A more youthful man

Mike Redmond Face, Or: Are They Looking at Me? Are They Looking at Me Now? What About Now? Are They Still Looking at Me? What About Now? What About Now? What About Now Are They Looking at Me Now? What About Now?

Act 1: I bet it’s been like 40 minutes since I looked. It’s probably been at least 40 minutes. I bet when I look it’s going to be 8:15, maybe even 8:30. This game is going to be over in no time. I don’t even need to look, because I know it’s been at least 40 minutes and probably 50 minutes. Don’t even look, Mike. You don’t need to. A lot of time has passed. Maybe an hour. You’ll be home before you know it, drinking a nice hot Ibarra mocha and settling in for Fallon. This isn’t forever. I bet it’s been an hour now for sure. Definitely.

Act 2: /looks up at clock; it’s 7:14 and Juan Pierre is still batting in the first.  

From a certain angle, will never be mistaken for: Leonys Martin

Terry Francona Face, Or: Eww

Act 1: Takes the gum out of his mouth. If there's one thing Tito knows, it's that a man can't make a tough decision with gum in his mouth. Before he signed his first pro contract, he took the gum out of his mouth and tucked it behind his ear. Before he proposed to his wife, he took the gum out of his mouth and tucked it behind her ear. And on that windy night some years back, as he lay at the edge of the sheer cliff, clutching two lost kittens by their scruffs, one in each hand, staring into their amazing kitten eyes, knowing he didn't have the arm strength to rescue the both of them, and knowing he had to decide which would live and which would be crushed against the stabby rocks below, he reached up with his left hand and took the gum from his mouth, and as the cat he had been holding in his left hand fell screaming onto the stabby rocks, he knew his decision had been made for him. 

Act 2: What the heck, let's leave Bauer out there for one more batter and see if he can get out of this. Gum back in mouth.  

From a certain angle, will never be mistaken for: Iggy the Catillac Cat

Dale Sveum Face, Or: I’ve Never Taken a Mugshot Before, Do Most People Smile or Not Smile or Oh You Already Took It. Okay.

Act 1: ♫ Baseball something is underway, yeah something something a something day, You Chicago what do you do? The Cubs are gonna something something ♫

Act 2: ♫ They're singing Something Cubs! Something Cubs! Hey Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are gonna something something ♫

From a certain angle, will never be mistaken for: Corey Worthington

Kirk Gibson Face, Or: Push It! Let’s Push It! Fun Hat! Push It!

Act 1: A crowd of people gathers to watch the angry manager. A man in a tan hat stands to clap. A man with blond hair chortles. A woman in a multi-colored jacket jeers at him, then delights in her own rebellion. A woman in a white parka watches cautiously, but can’t contain her smile. A man in a blue cap leans over. “What’s he saying,” the man in the blue cap says. “I don’t know,” the blond chortler replies.

Act 2: The situation has become more dire.

The woman in the white parka is now afraid to move, lest she attract the attention of the raging manager. The chortler turns to his larger friend, points toward the threat, and pleads, “save me!” A woman in a blue jacket stares, disapprovingly, at the childish display, while the man in the tan hat has a sudden heart attack, and collapses.

From a certain angle, will never be mistaken for: Danica McKellar

John Farrell Face, Or: Can’t Sit Down, Bobby Valentine Used to Sit Down, So Can’t Sit Down

Act 1: Boy this is the best view in the house. Unless
Act 2: Whoa, actually, this view is even better. Glad I moved over here. Unless

From a certain angle, will never be mistaken for: Scooter, the talking baseball

Don Mattingly Face, Or: What Are They Gonna Do, Fire Me? And Replace Me with What, Exactly, Some Sort of Like Better Option? 


Act 1: It literally can't get any worse than this. There is nothing worse than this. It cannot get any worse than this. I swear I would be happy if I could find just one person who has it worse than me, but that person does not exi—

Act 2: —hey is that a GIF of the Astros over there? 

From a certain angle, will never be mistaken for: Joe Torre

A deep debt of gratitude to Kris Liakos at Walkoff Walk for inventing the concept of Scioscia Face, from which this entire concept is stolen/extrapolated.

Sam Miller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Sam's other articles. You can contact Sam by clicking here

Related Content:  Managers,  Facial Expressions

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