Any mistake in a key game could cost a manager their job. Cincinnati Reds minor league manager Pat Kelly found that out in the Dominican Winter League yesterday, when he was fired by the Tigres del Licey.
Typically a visit to the mound to bring in a reliever is a mundane event. The manager signals to the bullpen, a reliever comes in, some words of wisdom are imparted, and then it is time for the reliever to perform. A couple of minutes pass while the viewing audience gets a snack or another beer, and the game continues.
At least, that is how it is supposed to work. That was not the case last night for Cincinnati Reds minor league manager Pat Kelly, who was filling that role with the Tigres del Licey. With Licey clinging to a 2-0 lead heading into the eighth inning, former closer Rafael Soriano started the inning. He promptly gave up a couple of hits, leading Kelly to make a call to the pen.
Article continues below ...
That would have worked, except that he forgot to have a reliever warming up. Leyton Septimo was summoned from the bullpen, promptly walked the only batter he faced, and then departed. The Licey bullpen then imploded, allowing five runs in the 5-2 loss to Aguilas de Mexicali.
With Licey having lost five consecutive games in the round robin tournament to determine the teams playing for the finals, that mistake was the final straw. Kelly was fired after the game, this bullpen issue being the catalyst to send him back stateside.
Chances are, this will not affect his position with the Reds. He has been with the organization since 2007, and has spent 27 years as a minor league manager for several different organizations. It is, however, something else that he will now be infamous for, as his meltdowns on minor league umpires have become quite popular. Perhaps he was plotting his next argument and was distracted, forgetting to have a fresh arm warming up.