Without any postseason implications, the last day of the season can be a great time to experiment and have some fun. The Marlins did just that against the Braves on Sunday when veteran catcher A.J. Ellis took the helm as the team's manager. He was assisted by Martin Prado as bench coach and Odrisamer Despaigne as pitching coach.
With no firsthand managerial experience, Ellis sought to learn from the best, even if it came in a late-night cramming session. "I watched a lot of movies last night," he told MLB.com's Patrick Pinak. "I watched 'Little Big League' and I watched 'Bull Durham.' I watched 'For Love of the Game.' ... Lou Brown from 'Major League.' So I'm picking up a lot of tips from some pretty accomplished managers."
Ellis seemed to have studied well as he looked right at home exchanging lineup cards with Braves manager Brian Snitker before the game:
As for the hands-on aspects of coaching, Despaigne was called into service early with a third-inning mound visit to starter Jose Urena:
Will Sunday's managerial debut lead to a potential post-playing career for Ellis? "I do know I have to make up for a lot of lost time at home," Ellis said regarding life after playing. "There will be a stretch when dad needs to go home and hang out with the kids a little bit more than he has in this past decade."
We may have to wait a bit, then, to see Ellis' second career game as manager.
As for the rest of his staff, perhaps the situation will be different.