In Saturday’s 12-9 Southeastern Conference loss to Tennessee, that “something” came from a regular source – retiring coach Ron Polk.
Polk earned his fifth ejection of the season arguing a ball four call in the seventh inning that walked home a run, giving Tennessee a 6-3 lead after State had fought back to within two runs after an early 5-0 deficit.
Polk sprinted from the dugout after umpire Danny Everett called Ricky Bowen’s pitch outside. It took only a few seconds for Everett to eject Polk, but the 64-year-old coach continued to verbally berate the umpire.
Polk continued his tongue-lashing so much that the rest of the crew, Todd Henderson and Paul Gillie, formed a phalanx to keep Polk away from Everett. Soon, Polk briskly walked away, most of the announced 2,042 at Dudy Noble Field cheering him on, grabbed his black satchel and left the dugout.
An hour later, he apparently was still so steamed that he sent assistant Tommy Raffo – whom he has adamantly endorsed as his successor – to handle his postgame media obligations.
Raffo smiled at a reporter who asked how he earned that assignment.
“For comments, obviously, for coach, I think it helps for him just to … ,” Raffo said, searching for a word.
“Not say anything?” came a reply.
“No comment from coach, yeah,” Raffo said. “If that helps.”