Atlanta Braves Suspend Phillip Wellman Over Friday's Ejection At AT&T Field

Monday, June 4, 2007 - by Tim Evearitt
Phillip Wellman in action.

<i>Click to enlarge photo.</i>
Phillip Wellman in action. Click to enlarge photo.
- photo by Tim Evearitt (file photo)

On Monday, the Braves issued this Press Release:

"Atlanta Braves Director of Player Development Kurt Kemp announced today that the organization issued a three-game suspension to Double-A Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman for his actions Friday (June 1) in Chattanooga. The suspension begins with tonight's home game against West Tennessee.

Wellman, 44, is in his first season with Mississippi. He rejoined the organization after working for the Braves from 1988-1991."

* * * * * * *

It's been three days since Mississippi Braves manager Phillip Wellman went into one of the more colorful tirades in recent memory following his ejection from a Southern League game at Chattanooga. While his antics have been immortalized through the Internet and on a vast array of cable television networks, Wellman himself is done talking about the incident.

Mississippi's media relations department said on Monday that Wellman would be more than happy to discuss his team in any way, but that what happened Friday at Trustman Park is now an off-limits topic. (Actually, the event occurred at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.)

The Braves wound up losing the game, in which Wellman was ejected during the third inning, 7-6.

Following his ejection, Wellman threw his hat, piled dirt on home plate and yanked up a base and threw it in the outfield. The highlight of the rant was when Wellman crawled on his stomach like a soldier behind the mound, grabbed the resin bag and, from his knees, hurled it like a grenade toward home plate umpire Brent Rice. The bag landed near Rice's foot.

See photos posted on Chattanoogan.com

Larry Ward, the Voice of the Lookouts, has known Wellman since his days as a manager at Chattanooga and is tired of the attention the incident has received. He told MiLB.com on Monday that he's been receiving phone calls about it all weekend.

"I thought it was a managerial ejection from a ball game," Ward said. "I figured it was a situation where the manager did what he was going to do after getting ejected. Everyone in the whole world thinks it's a really big deal. For those of us in the industry, it's just another ejection with an antic added to it.

"I worked for this guy for four years when he was here at Chattanooga and he pulled stuff just as zany if not zanier. Everyone wants to make a big deal out of this and it's not a big deal. I don't understand. I guess the rest of the world never saw a manager get ejected. It's ancient history. For those of us in the industry, it was done last Friday. Done and over with. Then it was funny and it was funny when you look at the video, but it's old news now. Let it die and be done with it."

Mississippi starter Kelvin Villa was ejected in the fifth inning when Rice determined he was putting a foreign substance on the ball. Teammates Joey Devine and Mike Rozema were also tossed after defending Villa.

A Southern League spokesman said that league policy prohibits information about any possible suspension or fine following a manager or player's ejection from being made public. He also said that he could not comment on whether the incident would be handled any differently than a less-publicized ejection.
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Adapted from an article on the Minor League Baseball website.


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