First, there was then-Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi ordering the towels and post-game food removed from the clubhouse and demanding that the players stand at their lockers in response to continuing lethargic play.

Then came Toronto general manager J.P. Riccardi not only publicly criticizing Cincinnati outfielder Adam Dunn, whom he has never met. He criticized him not only for his abilities on the field but his personal life. He later announced that he talked with Dunn on the phone and apologized on Saturday, only to have Dunn show up in Toronto with the Reds on Tuesday and make it clear he had never spoken to Riccardi and had no desire to talk to him.

Now comes the saga of Houston general manager Ed Wade and pitcher Shawn Chacon, suspended then released this week after publicly admitting that a confrontation with Wade resulted in Chacon grabbing Wade by the neck, throwing him to the ground and jumping on the GM.

There's no excuse for him physically attacking Wade.

Leadership, however, let the Astros down in this instance, too.

Having moved Chacon from the rotation to the bullpen earlier in the week, Astros manager Cecil Cooper initially requested that Chacon come to his office to discuss issues that were being raised during the week. Chacon declined.

That prompted Wade to approach Chacon in the players' lounge prior to Wednesday's game.

Chacon again declined to go into the office, told Wade that the general manager should be free to say whatever he had to say there in the lounge and Wade, by Chacon's description lost his cool, yelling and cursing. That's when Chacon lost it, and the next thing anyone knew, Chacon had thrown Wade to the floor.

Chacon was out of line. Now, at age of 31, he is likely out of baseball, first suspended by the Astros and then, on Thursday, released.

But that doesn't exonerate Wade, who is supposed to be the leader of the franchise and has a responsibility to owners to handle his job with dignity, which doesn't include profanity-filled shouting matches with players.

INFIELD CHATTER

—Oakland assistant general manager David Forst is quick to decline interview requests for GM jobs because he figures to be the head man with the Athletics as early as next season. While Billy Beane will be around, Beane has indicated he plans to put his focus on developing the pro soccer team that he and Athletics owner Lewis Wolf are involved with.

—Former outfielder and current Giants scout Ted Uhlaender has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the same form of cancer that former Rockies manager Don Baylor has battled.

—Milwaukee right-hander Ben Sheets says in light of the Brewers deciding not to try to negotiate an extension during the season, he expects to explore the free-agent market in the fall.

THE ROTATION

Houston GM Wade's scuffle with Chacon was rare, but not the first time team management has had such moments. As a big-league manager, the late Billy Martin was always ready to brawl. Four memorable moments:

—In 1969, his lone year managing Minnesota, Martin punched pitcher Dave Boswell so hard that he needed 20 stitches.

—In 1973, as manager in Detroit, Martin traded punches with minor leaguer Ike Blessitt during spring training.

—In 1985, as manager of the Yankees, Martin challenged pitcher Ed Whitson, who left Martin with a broken arm.

—After the 1985 season, in a Minneapolis bar, Martin punched marshmallow salesman Joseph Cooper, resulting in Martin's being fired by the Yankees.

OUT IN LEFT FIELD

Cito Gaston, who managed Toronto to championships in 1992 and 1993 but was fired after the 1997 season, returned as the Blue Jays manager last weekend when John Gibbons was fired.

Gaston is the 11th man to manage the same team twice with more than a 10-year gap between full-time managerial stints, according to Bill Arnold.

The longest gap was 21 years by Bucky Harris, who left the Tigers after 1933 and returned in 1955, and Paul Richards, who left the White Sox after 1954 and returned in 1976. Other extended gaps: 19 years, Yogi Berra, Yankees (last year 1964, returned in 1984); 15 years, John Pesky, Red Sox (1964, 1980) and Bill Rigney, Giants (1960, 1976); 14 years, Rogers Hornsby, Browns (1937, 1952); 11 years, John McNamara, Angels (1984, 1996); and 10 years, Bill Carrigan, Red Sox (1916, 1927), Billy Southworth, Cardinals (1929, 1940), Charlie Grimm, Cubs (1949, 1960) and Paul Owens, Phillies (1972, 1983).

CLOSING STATEMENT

Toronto general manager Riccardi is indignant over questions about his credibility, when he says he talked to Reds outfielder Dunn on the phone last weekend and apologized for inane statements about Dunn, while Dunn emphatically denied ever having spoken to Riccardi.

Riccardi said he prides himself on his honesty and resented his integrity being questioned. He even pointed out that Dunn's call came from area code 519.

Maybe if Riccardi lived in Toronto instead of outside Boston, he'd know the 519 area code is actually from the province of Ontario, which would seem to prove that the call didn't come from Dunn, who lives in Texas and plays for a team in Ohio.

But then Riccardi is the guy who announced that pitcher A.J. Burnett was sidelined by back problems only to later say Burnett had reconstructive elbow surgery. Accused of lying about that, Riccardi took exception and explained that it's not a lie when you say something that isn't true as long as you know what the truth is.

NUMBERS GAME

—23: Home runs for Florida second baseman Dan Uggla, only the second second baseman in major league history to hit 20 home runs or more in each of his first three seasons. Uggla had 27 in 2006 and 31 in 2007 and has hit 23 this season. Joe Gordon opened his career with four 20-plus home run seasons for the New York Yankees: 25 in 1938, 28 in 1939, 30 in 1940 and 24 in 1941.

MATCHUP FOR THE AGES

Randy Johnson, 44, started for Arizona on Wednesday against Boston's Tim Wakefield, 41.

It was the first matchup of 40-something starting pitchers since Boston's Curt Schilling, 40, faced the Yankees' Roger Clemens, 45, on Sept. 16, 2007.

Johnson and Wakefield had a combined age of 86 years, 252 days in the "oldest" matchup since last July 21, when Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer and San Diego's David Wells were a combined 88 years, 308 days.

HE SAID IT

"The kid gloves are off. And we expect him to go deep into games for us."

—Joe Girardi, Yankees manager, after Joba Chamberlain threw 114 pitches in his start Wednesday, the most by a Yankees pitcher younger than 23 since Andy Pettitte in 1995.