It’s been 11 years since Phillip Wellman went viral with a video showing him “disagree” with an umpire’s call during a minor league baseball game in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“I love Phillip’s enthusiasm, I love his passion for the game. He’s such a competitor,” said the Amarillo Sod Poodles general manager, Tony Ensor.
Ensor has been a part of the group spearheading the effort to get baseball back into Amarillo.
Ensor explained, “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and this is the first time I’ve had an opportunity to come open a new ballpark and a new team in a place that hasn’t had professional, affiliated baseball for 37 years.”
He’s also one of the biggest promoters of the Sod Poodle’s new manager. A manager who has quite a few accolades, including 2017 Cactus League Manager of the Year.
“He’s obviously very skilled at what he does,” said Ensor. “He has over 1,000 wins as a minor league manager.”
And Ensor also had some opinions on the famous YouTube video.
“I love what he’s doing here,” exclaimed Ensor as we watched Wellman military crawl to the pitcher’s mound. “He’s got a lot of skill and a lot of athleticism and his toss toward the umpire as he’s landing this rosin grenade is absolutely priceless.”
But Ensor also wants to make sure that Amarillo baseball fans know that Wellman is one of the best in the business.
“A manager at the AA level, minor league level, his success is really gauged on wins and losses, but also getting these guys to the big leagues because that’s the ultimate goal,” said Ensor. “To get these guys up to San Diego and show what they’re made of.”
As for Wellman, he just hopes fans in Amarillo will soon know him for more than that video…
“I don’t know if it’s fortunate or unfortunate that a lot of people know me from an 11-year-old video,” explained Wellman.”But again, times have changed. The game’s changed, that’s not really looked upon like it used to be 10-15 years ago.”
When it comes to this year’s team, Wellman believes the sky is the limit even if some of the better prospects get promoted throughout the season.
“As long as I’ve been in it and I’ve figured out one thing,” said Wellman. “You’ve got to have good pitching and you have to play good defense and you can’t give outs up on the bases. There will be nights where you get 15 hits, there’ll be nights where you get three, but you can still win a ballgame if you do the rest of it right.”
MyHighPlains Digital Exclusive:
Watch the video below to see more from our sit down interview with General Manager Tony Ensor as well as comments from Wellman on what the main goal of a minor league ballclub is.