KOKOMO, Ind. – Just one day into the second half of the season, Kokomo Jackrabbits manager Greg Van Horn was terminated. The fiery skipper had been ejected for the third time in the first 30 games the night before.
“Field manager Greg Van Horn has officially been relieved of his duties with the team effective immediately,” the team said in a statement. “Kokomo will be managed by interim Field Manager Matt Howard for the remainder of the season.”
Howard is the first base coach for the Jackrabbits.
On July 1 at Kokomo Municipal Stadium, Van Horn was ejected in the fourth inning for apparently questioning a check swing call by home plate umpire James Norrick. The umpire walked towards the Kokomo dugout, ejecting the Jackrabbits manager. When he realized what happened, Van Horn stormed out of the dugout and charged the umpire.
Following a heated discussion, Van Horn – who also serves as an assistant coach at Princeton University – returned to the dugout and began throwing things onto the Municipal Stadium turf. His helmet, bats, baseballs and other assorted items found their way onto the field in front of 715 fans. Van Horn then returned to the field yelling, picked up a baseball and threw it across the field, near and possibly over Quincy Gems players, where it landed in the opposing bullpen – feet from paid spectators.
He then left the field and watched the rest of the game in the press box, serving as a color commentator on the Jackrabbits internet broadcast. Van Horn was previously ejected from two other games this season, resulting in a one game suspension from the Prospect League.
Van Horn was no stranger to the Prospect League. He played with the Chillicothe Paints, winning the league title in 2010. He also served as an assistant coach last season.
Howard, a 25 year-old native of Philadelphia who has a birthday on July 4, played college baseball at Slippery Rock University. He was named an honorable mention All-American while hitting .402 at SRU in 2011, becoming just the 28th Rock baseball player to hit over .400 in a single-season.
He also played summer-collegiate baseball with the Frontier League’s Southern Illinois Miners last season and the Traverse City Beach Bums in 2012-2013. The outfielder hit .252 in the league with 103 hits, 20 doubles, five home runs and 34 RBIs.
The Jackrabbits are 15-15 at the mid-way point of the season and return to the award-winning Municipal Stadium on July 10 following road trips to Springfield and Terre Haute. The break also includes the All-Star game, which is in Richmond this season.