The Wingnuts on Tuesday announced that the one-year contract of manager Kash Beauchamp will not be renewed and the team will be looking for a new manager for the 2009 season.
Wichita just wrapped up its inaugural season, in which Beauchamp guided the team to a 45-50 record. The Wingnuts finished the first half of 26-21, good for second place in the American Association North Division.
“My experience in Wichita was nothing but a pleasurable one for both me and my wife (Jennifer) and I look forward to remaining a part of the community,” Beauchamp said in a team-issued press release.
Wichita was the seventh independent league managerial stop for Beauchamp, 45, who was drafted No. 1 overall by the Toronto Blue Jays in January 1982. He won the Northeast League championship with the New Jersey Jackals in 1998, his first season as a manager.
Wichita closer Byron Embry said there were rumors that Beauchamp could be on his way out but was still surprised he was let go after one season.
“I know Kash really, really well and that’s why I went to play there,” Embry said. “It takes a special type of player to play for Kash. I guess they kind of thought they wanted to go in a different direction.”
Beauchamp drew national attention for a tirade on July 9 in the second game of a doubleheader against Sioux Falls. Beauchamp removed his shoe and stuck it near the face of home plate umpire Blake Felix then did the same with his armpit. The incident was captured by local television cameras and later displayed on YouTube, and several ESPN shows.
Beauchamp was criticized for being slow to apologize for the incident, though he did send a lengthy letter of apology to the American Association office about a week after it occurred.
” “In retrospect, I don’t think I’d do anything different,” Beauchamp said during a radio interview shortly after the incident. “I’ve had three or four confrontations with umpires that were better than that. People see a clip all over the country of me getting in an umpire’s grill and they don’t know what led up to it. It was simply another way to motivate your ballclub.”
Beauchamp had a fiery managing style that rubbed some players the wrong way and could have created division in the clubhouse. His biggest challenge was balancing his charming, outgoing off-field personality with the intensity he brought to each game.
It went both ways. First of all, everybody loved him as a guy, as a person,” center fielder Chris Colton said. “But as a coach, with his body language and stuff like that, people didn’t like that. I think Kash was a great coach, but sometimes his body language was a little bad at times.”
General manager Josh Robertson said pitching coach Luke Robertson (Josh’s brother) and hitting coach Chris Mileham would return and that letting Beauchamp go was “one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.”
“Kash is a friend of mine and will be a friend of mine for the rest of my life,” Josh Robertson said. “He’s a guy you want to go out to dinner with, a guy you want to go golfing with, a guy you want to have a beer with. He’s a friend. He’s a very well-spoken person and I would definitely say his passion for the game of baseball and his will and want to win are right in line with mine.”