Bobby Valentine Goes Undercover

Eric SalomonContributor IFebruary 11, 2009

On June 9, 1999 the Mets played an interleague game against the Toronto Blue Jays, which they won 4-3 in 14 innings.  During the game Mets manager Bobby Valentine was ejected for arguing with the umpire.

Instead of hitting the showers and watching the rest of the game from the clubhouse, Valentine decided to play dress-up.

Several minutes after being ejected, a man dressed like Groucho Marx wearing a Mets t-shirt emerged from the tunnel in the dugout.  A collective look of shame came over Mets fans watching on television when the cameras turned to the end of the Mets dugout.

Valentine obviously wanted to be noticed, sporting thick glasses and a moustache drawn with eye black. 

He later said the move was intended to lighten the mood in the dugout, but also said he regretted doing it.  Nevertheless, he was fined $5,000 and suspended.

Fortunately for Valentine, the Mets had a successful season that year, gong 97-66 and reaching the NLCS.  Had the Mets struggled that season, Valentine most likely would have been let go because of his antics and his inability to get the most out of the Mets' top-notch talent.

Other managers have pulled similar stunts.  Tommy Lasorda once reappeared in the dugout during an exhibition game wearing a trench coat and sunglasses.  Leo Durocher, after being ejected, once went up to the press box and began heckling the announcers. 

This moment was embarrassing for Mets fans, but entertaining nonetheless.  In the end it gave baseball fans yet another reason to laugh at the Mets.