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A Decision Awaits

Soon enough, we'll know Manny Acta's fate.

Why would the Nationals fire him? Because they've lost six of seven games, and 24 of their last 29, and 45 of their last 61, and 147 of their last 222. Because they are currently 9 1/2 games worse than the 29th-worst team in baseball, Arizona. Because they have the league's highest error total and poorest ERA. Because firing pitching coach Randy St. Claire two weeks ago did nothing to stop their losing. Because the status quo is embarrassing.

Why would the Nationals not fire him? Because he is, by all accounts, still respected and admired within the clubhouse. Because his removal won't help Austin Kearns hit and Adam Dunn charge sinking liners and Cristian Guzman hustle for shallow outfield pop-ups. Because even President Stan Kasten said after a recent loss, "I think we all watched the game last night, and you know, you watch us lose a game and if you listed the reasons why we lost the game I don't think the manager would be anywhere on the list of reasons." Because they're heading to New York for a three-game series against the Yankees, and that's no way for an interim manager to spark a change. Because, for all the dysfunction around him, Acta always carries himself with dignity.

So here's the question. What do you think is the proper move?

By Chico Harlan  |  June 15, 2009; 8:08 AM ET
 
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Next: Acta's Still the Manager...

Comments

The manager of a team can fix all sorts of problems. You don't bench adam dunn for not charging a liner but if there is an attitude of better defense he will do it to keep the respect of his teammates. This can only start with the Manager. Does Manny Acta even say anything to the team in the club House, on the plane, in the duggout? I honestly believe that he just sits there and collects his pay check. What has he done to try to improve the team the GM and VP gave him? How has he tried to fix things? Note: Saying "we just have to keep going out there and trying our best" is not an acceptable answer for a Major League ball Club.

Posted by: vo_37 | June 15, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Reposting from the last NJ post:

Acta should be fired, today.

Yes, he's played the hand that's been dealt him, but he hasn't done that very well at all. He plays the wrong people in the wrong positions and at the wrong times and makes questionable moves within the game. His reluctance to fire St.Clair has destroyed any hope of the pitching staff.

The Nats are one of the worst defensive teams in recent memory. There is no excuse for that. If you're going to trot out the 'the bullpen had to be rebuilt' angle, then you're ignoring the fact that defensively the team makes stupid plays. And not just the kids - the veterans as well. Particularly with a young pitching staff, a strong defense should be the first priority.

The fact is the team is not progressing, they're regressing under Acta. Just as Acta does, the team seems to accept losing as the norm. Oh well, just another loss. That's Acta's atitude and it's the team's as well.

Failure to jettison him now will only further undermine any credibility the front office has left.

Posted by: SavedByZero | June 15, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

"Because he is, by all accounts, still respected and admired within the clubhouse."

If this is true, then where are the typical statements of support that you see from players when they know that their skipper is on the hot seat? You know, the comments like "Manny is a great manager, this is on us, not him," "It's our fault we have been playing so badly, not Manny's," "We're letting Manny down," "Manny has us ready to play every day, and we are just not executing."

Clearly these are all baseball 101 cliches, but you do see them when the manager is truly respected and admired in the clubhouse but nonetheless on the verge of getting fired. So Chico, why aren't you getting quotes like this if what you say is true? If you ask me, I see a team that believes their manager has let them down, and they can't wait to see him go.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 15, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Wow-did I see a post from NatsFan from late last night(last thread)? Hope the "I'm gone" ending was not a permanent declaration.....although I would understand. I've run outta things to say, too. Fire Manny/don't fire Manny-this bunch is SO sorry-and by bunch I mean top to bottom-that I hate to admit it but I really don't care. I guess now is the summer of our discontent...Go Nats

Posted by: zendo | June 15, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

A change may or may not make a difference, but a change is inevitable. This train left the station once the FOX report came out, and the only thing that will stop it is a contract extension. That ain't going to happen. And a public vote of confidence is absurd and phony. And not doing anything is the worst thing possible.

So is this the right time? Of course: there's no other choice.

Posted by: joemktg2 | June 15, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I expect if the Keep/Fire Poll is done fairly the Majority will support keeping Manny.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | June 15, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Also, how funny is it that the national media--Rosenthal, Heymann, Gammons,etc--are all miles ahead of the local guys on this stuff? Chico, is Sheinin asleep? This is his chance to get back at Kasten and make him look bad, and he's striking out!

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 15, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

@Coverage

the only thing the DC media care about is whether Laron Landry stubbed his toe in OTAs. Why wouldn't they be scooped by the national media?

Acta's done, as well he should be. They say sometimes the one thing people fear the most is change - that appears to be the case with this 'poll.' What, you think canning Acta will make the Nats worse?

Posted by: SavedByZero | June 15, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Should have fired him Memorial Day weekend. The Caps fired their coach in mid season and made the playoffs. The Nats can do the same and be respectable.

Acta will live to manage another day with a better owned/run team.

Posted by: Batboy05 | June 15, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I have flipped on this so many times. I think I've finally come to my own conclusion. Keep him the rest of the year, decline to pick up his 2010 option. No managerial change is going to save this season. Right now it's just a change for the sake of change and while that may satisfy our sense of justice for the time being, how long before we're calling for Jim Riggleman's head when his record isn't statistically any better? This team is flawed from the way it was constructed. Sell off whatever parts you can that aren't clearly part of the core by the deadline, jettison those you can't sell and start from the ground floor.

I'm not the biggest fan of Manny as a baseball tactician, but canning him now will do absolutely no good in the long term.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 15, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I voted "yes" but only because "The Right thing would have been to fire him a month ago" was not a choice.

And for all of you who say that a managerial change won't matter - here's a tidbit, Jim Tracy is 13-4 since taking over the Rockies.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 15, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

The only possible reason I can come up with for keeping Acta is that, now that Bryce Harper has enrolled in junior college and will likely be eligible for the 2010 draft, I'm reluctant to do anything that jeopardizes the Nats' chance at the Number One pick next year. Seriously. This organization is so inept and snake-bit that it might go on a run and allow Arizona or someone else to edge them out for the chance to draft another B.J. Upton or even better.

That's it -- it's the best reason I can come up with.

Posted by: hisownfool1 | June 15, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

For the record, that posting was not from this natsfan, zendo. I'm in it for the long haul. And I voted "no."

CiL, given that Rosenthal's Acta rumor item ran at almost the same time as his Manuel is throwing his team under the bus piece, I wonder whether the former originated from a NYC rather than a DC source. Just saying.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

where is the passion on this team? Why doesn't Manny get in the umpire's face after horrendous replay calls? He looks to me like a figurehead on a ship that's slowly sinking out of sight. C'mon, guys. We can't keep losing night after night. It may not all be Manny's fault, but he's the guy in charge. Kearns is lost in a fog and he keeps putting him out there. The young pitchers could frequently go longer in games than Manny lets them. How patient should he be with bone head plays? He may be the nicest guy in the world, but he's not the manager this team needs at this time.

Posted by: gengreen17 | June 15, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

If there was ever any greater evidence or reason to fire a manager, please tell me. We didn't wait all these years to see what sometimes seems like effortless and non-fundamental baseball. Also it's disheartening to see a beautiful baseball park close to being empty during home games. I like Manny, he's a stand up guy, just not the Manager we need. There will be ups and downs with any franchise, but the team deserves change as do the fans. So, we wait.

Posted by: Nevin7 | June 15, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Whatever. Just bring it on. I've got bad news fatigue anyway.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 15, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

The Caps example bears little to no resemblance to this situation. The caps fired Glen Hanlon because they were expected to be Division and playoff contenders in 2007. Instead they found themselves in last place at Thanksgiving. They fired a defensive minded coach who ran a trapping system that didn't play to his players strength and hired a guy who coached most of these guys in the minors, and who runs an open ice offense at the expense of defense system that played right into their hands. That team was talented and was being held back by their coach and his system. The same thing can not be said for this Nationals team.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 15, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Whatever. Just bring it on. I've got bad news fatigue anyway.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 15, 2009 8:49 AM

+1

Posted by: joemktg2 | June 15, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

OTOH, I believe that the Diamondbacks are 15-20 since Bob Melvin left (at which point they were 12-17).

---

And for all of you who say that a managerial change won't matter - here's a tidbit, Jim Tracy is 13-4 since taking over the Rockies.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 15, 2009 8:46 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Rosenthal/Gammons types want to drive the media. They don't report it. They want to make it. How else can they guarantee they first reported the story?

"Manny will be fired sometime soon!" Wow, what insight. Thanks Rosenthal. Now we have to have a fire watch? This is absurd.

People in here have been calling for his head for well over a year. I've never been one of them. I'd like to see him finish out his contract this year.

To me, the real question is what do you do first: Trade away all your chips (NJ/Dunn/Willingham/Guzman/etc.) or Remove Manny?

My first reaction is to trade players before bringing in some new manager who will work with a lineup constantly in turmoil. Firing Manny to teach to the players a lesson for being too comfortable seems too little too late when we are about to trade away half the lineup anyway. What's the point now?

The problem has always been Manny wasn't put in a position to succeed. It's been written often that Manny doesn't put the players in a position to succeed but I would suggest that's been handed down from the top.

Regarding Bryce Harper, I knew next year would be the "Best Prospect of All Time!" I knew it, I knew it, I knew it. Kind of makes you wonder what Boras and Old Man Lerner really talked about this past winter.

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

"Because his removal won't help Austin Kearns hit and Adam Dunn charge sinking liners and Cristian Guzman hustle for shallow outfield pop-ups."

Two out of three ain't bad. Acta's removal would help Guzman hustle, because if he were not playing in a culture of 'losing is okay', he'd either hustle or be on the bench.

And, just for the record, I think Adam Dunn is one of the last things this team needs to worry about.

Posted by: raymitten | June 15, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

You hit the nail on the head there, longterm.

---

The problem has always been Manny wasn't put in a position to succeed. It's been written often that Manny doesn't put the players in a position to succeed but I would suggest that's been handed down from the top.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

The Rox are 13-4 since firing Hurdle. At this point there really is nothing left to do. Rarely is it something specific that gets a manager fired. It's the total body of work. And Manny's body is flat-lined.

Posted by: pwilly | June 15, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

What they really need to do is DFA Teddy.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I think Manny isn't the problem. Perhaps he is *A* problem or *A* contributor, but you could do a lot worse than someone who gets the respect of his players and keeps an even temper.

Folks here worry when people like Dukes come into the mix because they've got a history of being ill-tempered, but then complain when the team's leader isn't ill-tempered. That doesn't jiive.

I am not saying that Manny is the next Casey Stengel, I'm just saying that we'll never find out until he's given the pieces to work with and prove it.

For those who would fire him, whom would you have as his replacement? Would this move jeopardize in any way the signing of our #1 draft pick?

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 15, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

One more thing -- Buster Olney on ESPN this morning was laughing at the prospect of Acta's firing improving the team, saying they need better players. Why is Acta not on the hook for player personnel decisions he was involved in -- say, the distasterous Lastings Milledge trade and Anderson "the grass is cut funny" Hernandez. Those players placement on the roster is in part due to Acta's endorsement of them.

Having watched this mess all year, it annoys me that Acta is not being held accountable in the media for the performance of this team.

Posted by: raymitten | June 15, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I have been a "fire Manny" swing voter for weeks ... and while I think someone else should manage the team next season, I think it's too late to let him go now.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 15, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

You mean this Bryce Harper?

"When asked about his goals as a ballplayer, he replies, 'Be in the Hall of Fame, definitely. Play in Yankee Stadium. Play in the pinstripes. Be considered the greatest baseball player who ever lived. I can't wait.'"

So the Nats draft him, bring him up through their farm system, have him in the bigs by the time he's what 20? All on a 5 or 6 year record contract so he's a free agent at 22? 23? Free to sign with his beloved Yankees. Ugh. No thanks.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 15, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Also: I don't trust FOX to bring me cutting edge news since they reported Bush over Gore in 2000. The job of the media is to report the news, not dictate it.

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 15, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

More fun with W-L records:

The Mariners went 25-47 before firing John McLaren on June 19 last year. They went 36-54 with Jim Riggleman at the helm and finished at 61-101.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

While that was once the case, I don't believe that it is so now. (Not that I'm happy with the current state of affairs.) But I digress.

---

The job of the media is to report the news, not dictate it.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

@ Rickety Cricket. That's probably every kid's dream. There wouldn't be anyone left to sign if we looked elsewhere.
Also, to hold a kid's dreams against him is bad mojo.

Besides, wait till he starts catching Strasburg. He'll change his mind.

You really don't want the next Griffey/Arod/Johnny Bench? You want guarantees? We'll never be the best until we start aiming higher. That's why this Strasburg deal must work. It's why we'll sign Harper.

He needs to sign before the new CBA goes through. That's what this smells like to me.

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm on board with 1a1 (per usual) that we should DFA Teddy.

If we're going to axe our personnel on the basis of their performance, Teddy should be first out the door. Replace him with FDR (who has more wins than any President...) and send a message to everyone that even lovable losers will not be tolerated...

Ahh yes, digression....

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 15, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

ihatewalks with back to back zingers!

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I've learned from posts on this blog that management HAS supported Manny.

You don't trade for players who make any kind of decent salary, because the cheaper players are almost as good (if you discount pitching tools and defense).

You don't sign costly free agents, because that could cost you a second round draft pick (even though your new player can be traded later for prospects or can net you a first rounder plus a sandwich pick when his contract expires).

You don't sign the costly (100K-plus) international kids, because the Nats have had to think hard about the Smiley situation for a few years before taking new action.

I have finally learned that it is better not to have signed last year's College Pitcher of the Year, because the club is better off with a reliever who has racked up an impressive ERA of just under four runs a game.

And here lately, we have all learned that the Nats do indeed draft and sign the best players available (even though they sign for under slot, even though their college records are not all that impressive, and even though they were not projected by the so-called experts to be drafted anywhere near that high).

Because the Nats have clearly demonstrated that they are extending themselves for the team and giving Manny the support he has needed, what other option is there but to fire Manny?

Posted by: EdDC | June 15, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I have also waffled on whether to fire Manny, and haven't said anything until now. I voted "no," basically for the reasons Chico outlined. I'm also hoping that not firing Manny is a sign that the organization isn't going to cave to media pressure, and isn't going to follow the time-worn, but wrong, idea that the manager should take the fall when the team doesn't perform---even when the President of the club admits that the list of reasons for the losses doesn't include the manager.

Posted by: jcj5y | June 15, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

@longterm - you are right of course. If he's eligible and clearly the best player you take him, sign him, and do your best to keep him. They just better start putting together a team that makes players of this caliber want to stay once their entry contracts are up. I guess the one should help with the other.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 15, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

In response to those Acta apologists I see here, I can only ask, "What has Manny done to earn a continued job here?" Yes, the talent pool is shallow, but he has not inspired passion or fundamental baseball, and has played favorites with some players (Milledge and Kearns) who continue to flounder.

Posted by: BrantAlyea | June 15, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to see us actually fire the team and keep the manager. Break up the Nats!

Manny never even got to pick his coaches. They fired them all and then gave him new coaches this year. The organization is a mess.

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I would like to know if people think this has been a collection of the WORST baseball players in the history of baseball.

If so then the argument that Manny in not responsible holds up and his replacement would have no effect now or in the future.

Only a wholesale replacement of the team would work to bring hope back to DC.

Is that what is being suggested?

Posted by: CBinDC | June 15, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line. Night after night, this team makes fundamental errors. That is on the manager. He should fire them up. Whip them into shape. Also, go out and get tossed from a game once in awhile. That calm demeanor Manny has is not always appropriate for a Major League manager. I'm not saying he needs to be Earl Weaver, but come on. The guy sits there comatose at times. I think back to that left field replay homerun call in the Mets series. Acts should have gone ballistic on that one. That's his job!! Instead, he calmly walks away. He should have gotten himself ejected. That would have shown the team he has a pulse, and set an example of concern to the team. Has there ever been a successful manager as passive as Acta? I can't think of one. This team needs a fire lit under it. Now. Acta has too much tolerance for nonchalance. He is too nonchalant himself, and his players follow suit. Time to change, now.

Posted by: podline6 | June 15, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Rickety Cricket. I'm with you. They have to create an envirnoment where stars want to come out and play. Every team has a new stadium so that won't sell anyone anymore.

But extending Zimmerman should help. I'd think signing Strasburg should help. But you're right. The jury is definitely still out on the process. I mean revised process, of course.

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Manny himself said this was a better team than last year's. So they are on pace to finish with more losses that 2008. If this team is better, who's to blame for the lousy record? It comes right back to Manny. We don't have Jimbo to kick around any more, thank goodness.

Posted by: gengreen17 | June 15, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

ACTA is a cancer... Fire him and we'll win more games, at least become respectable. Acta does not put his players in a position to suceeed. How much more does Stan need to see...

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | June 15, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

HIRE BOBBY V!!!! Let Acta go back to the mets. Hopefully the mets will hire acta

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | June 15, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Nope. You're on the wrong end of the org chart. Think higher than the team. Higher than the manager. Higher even than the GM.

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Only a wholesale replacement of the team would work to bring hope back to DC.

Is that what is being suggested?

Posted by: CBinDC | June 15, 2009 9:20 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Um, Joe Torre?

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Has there ever been a successful manager as passive as Acta?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what Manny Acta has to hang his hat on that so many of you are so loyal to him. Yeah, he's a nice guy and he never embarrasses the organization but there has never been a point in his tenure that I thought "Wow, this team is really getting the most out of their ability." And I'm sorry but if Cristian Guzman isn't hustling on shallow popups to the outfield how is that not a reflection on the manager? Acta is not to blame for the team not challenging for the division but I don't see how anyone can say he isn't a part of the reason they are challenging the 62 Mets. This is a flawed team to be sure but it isn't historically flawed.

Posted by: ouvan59 | June 15, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

We don't have Jimbo to kick around any more, thank goodness.

---

If Acta goes, fans won't have him to kick around either. But I'm sure that they'll come up with someone else to be a scapegoat.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Wow, as of 9:40, 50% don't think this is the right time to fire Manny Acta? What would be the right time?? To quote former Detroit Lions coach Darryl Rogers, after leading his team to a third dismal season in a row, "What's a guy got to do to get fired around here?"

Posted by: mvm2 | June 15, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

>Firing Manny to teach to the players a lesson for being too comfortable seems too little too late when we are about to trade away half the lineup anyway. What's the point now?

That's the main mistake they can make. The players aren't that bad. You look at it rationally, and these players are better than the '62 Mets as a unit, right? Of course they are. The only way they're that bad is with Manny as manager. So, you need to get rid of Acta in order to properly assess what the talent level is. There's no way you can accurately do it with him around. Let's say they play reasonably the same, except that they WIN one-run games, and extra-inning games (which they're like 0-10 right now), and the winning percentage improves. Does that mean that the players are better? No. They just happened to do the little things needed to win.

You know, Dunn takes the bat off his shoulder with men on base late in the game, because they're not walking him -- they're throwing him strikes and he could swing at a lot of those pitches. They're pitching to the entire middle of the order. Maybe the new guy can help the young pitchers cut down on walks and go farther into the game so the bullpen is used less. Pitch to contact. It's already starting to work, but they still labor the third time through the order. Who knows. Point is, the players don't necessarily become 'better', they just have better results because they're coached differently. That's where keeping Acta on is a mistake because it would create unnecessary casualties and hurt the team in the long run.

Posted by: Brue | June 15, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

The only reason to fire Manny is that you've allowed the "he's getting dumped" reports to linger out there without a firm response. That means they're either planning to fire him or considering it. At that point, he's going to lose the team because they know he's a lame duck. So just do it.

But, please, people, get real. This is an awful team, terribly assembled. A young, inexperienced starting rotation backed up by an equally shaky bullpen. That's a no-win situation for any manager. Plus, they sacrificed defense for offense at every turn. Finally, they're a good, but limited, offense (good OBP, power, no speed, mediocre situational hitters, and they K a lot). That's a really bad mix, especially with the bullpen they started the year with and the defense they still have. If they change managers and keep the same players, there will be very little improvement. And that means the problem goes far beyond the manager.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I laugh at the whole 'the players stink, so it's not Manny's fault' angle.

Perhaps the players stink BECAUSE of Manny. There is no defense - none - to putting Kearns in the lineup day after day. There's no defense (pun intended) that this team's fielding is on par with a t-ball squad. Acta's a horrible in-game tactician. All those things have nothing to do with the fact that the talent stinks.

Manny's "woe is us, maybe we'll get a break" attitude merely fosters an atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance towards shoddy play and losing. There are no such thing as good and bad breaks. Good teams put themselves in position to take advantage of circumstances. Bad teams sit around and wait for something bad to happen.

And it all starts at the top. As I said, if Acta is kept, it merely send a message to everyone (fans, players, etc.) that playing like crap and losing is OK.

Posted by: SavedByZero | June 15, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't it about this time last year that we were screaming for the head of Tim Tollman, the windmilling 3rd base coach?

Now he's been replaced and look what good that has done for us.


(I will also note that watching a few games in person or on the radio recently it seems that the players on this team aren't trusting the 3rd base coach for instructions and watching to see the play for themselves, even if they aren't well positioned for it)

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 15, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Oops, I flip-flopped that one. If Acta goes, fans won't have him to kick around either. But I'm sure that they'll come up with someone else to be a scapegoat.

---

We don't have Jimbo to kick around any more, thank goodness.

Posted by: gengreen17 | June 15, 2009 9:31 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Acta needs to go. So many reasons I can't list them all. I'll just go with a few of my favorites. 1) He can't figure out basic baseball strategy like bringing in a lefty to face the heart of the left handed Phillies lineup. 2) Horrible umpiring has cost us at least 4 games and he barely makes a peep. Agreed, arguing won't change the call, but it will let your players know you care and will fight for them. 3) His back and forth with Dunn, Willingham, and Kearns on outfield positioning is ridiculous and almost comical. 4) The only difinitive thing Manny Acta said in Spring training was "Lastings Milledge is my CF and leadoff hitter" Yeah, he definately has the pulse of his team...

Posted by: curz | June 15, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

>If Acta goes, fans won't have him to kick around either. But I'm sure that they'll come up with someone else to be a scapegoat.

Are you volunteering? We can make arrangements if you really need the attention, and it seems like you do. 16-45 take no prisoners, mate>

Posted by: Brue | June 15, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Such threats are beneath even you, Brue.

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Are you volunteering? We can make arrangements if you really need the attention, and it seems like you do. 16-45 take no prisoners, mate>

Posted by: Brue | June 15, 2009 9:45 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

He is not leading the teams to wins. No need to analyze all of the other bits of detail.

Posted by: BT23 | June 15, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Whether it should have been done or not done is NOT reallly the issue now. Whoever leaked this and Rosenthal has forced the hand to fire him, and they might as well do it sooner than later.

I already ranted and raved how this whole situation should have been avoided on the
"Today's Lineups, And More On Acta" thread.

Take the pressure of this so called "death - of a manager's job - watch" off the team. Rosenthal has already "broken the legs" of this beaten up horse. Put it out of its misery sooner than later and stop all this madness.

Posted by: CALSGR8 | June 15, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Chico,

I think your phrasing of the question confuses the issues.....It might well not be the right timing to fire Acta. I would have done it back in early May on an off day before a home stand. This is not the best time to do it but that is not the real question. The real question is should they fire Acta. To that I voted yes.

Posted by: JayBeee | June 15, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

What if Manny stormed around and kicked butt? Would that make him a better manager? I never like bosses who did that, but maybe baseball is different. If Jim Riggleman comes in, that would be uninspiring, even if he does storm around and kick butt.

We don't know how good or poor a manager Manny is. Nonetheless, we should have patience for the Nats' team-building efforts, but no patience for Manny, apparently.

Posted by: EdDC | June 15, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

This is a tough call. The team is in shambles, on paper we are decent the team did not respond to the early demotion of Milledge. The team did not respond to numerous re-toolings of the bullpen. The team did not respond to the firing of its pitching coach. So, I am not sure the team would respond to firing Manny. This clubhouse from the quotes we hear from the press is not that much of a vocal one, you get your quotes from Zim and Dunn but they don't really say anything, the team seems devoid of emotion. Frank was full of emotion, he loved this game and he was unceremoniously dumped by this franchise, so logically I cannot figure out why Manny has not been fired yet. Change is coming I am not sure if it will be on or off the field, I am not sure if it will be in 2009 or 2010. We will all just have to deal with it when the chips fall. Bottom line, I look forward to Bryce Jordan's selection next June.

Posted by: markfd | June 15, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"I would like to know if people think this has been a collection of the WORST baseball players in the history of baseball."

I'd like know if you think that any manager could put together a winning season with a team that has four rookie starting pitchers; where both of sluggers on the team are left fielders and can't play anywhere else (nominally; they're both really DHs); no center fielder; a bullpen put together from discarded spare parts; toss in the loss of the only major league catcher just to make things a little harder; etc, etc, etc.

Talk to me when Manny's been given a major league team and then I'll evaluate him based on wins and losses.

Posted by: joebleux | June 15, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I went with yes. But not easily.

I think Manny is a good man, and with a different mix of players in a different town at a different time, I have a feeling he'll be captaining a ship that's handing us our asses. His calm, event tempered demeanor would be perfect for managing a clubhouse full of volatile egos, keeping them in check and in synch.

But I'm not sure that right here, right now, what we need is someone who is "zen-calm" to the point of not getting thrown out of a game even ONCE, considering how much crap umpiring we've had to put up with. We need a little fire, as much for the fanbase as for the players.

If he stays, I'll hope for the best. I don't see a lot of good alternatives. But I think it, sadly, might be time.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | June 15, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Given the overall tone of the comments the past month on this board, I am really surprised at the poll results. Do you suppose Manny is out there voting like this was an All-Star ballot or something?

Posted by: twinbrook | June 15, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

johnson, guzman and dunn aren't the solution....nor the foundation...none of em playes with any level of defense to carry a team....guzman's defense is horrible - his mechanics are lousy and he plays for himself...dunn is just overrated - a great bat to have around as support but not good enough to lead the team to any level of accomplishment.....i wish I could get out of this funk - I love baseball but this team just pisses me off so much....

Posted by: outrbnksm | June 15, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I think it may simply be that there's no overwhelming excitement when the presumed replacement is Jim Riggleman. If they were going to bring in a name guy the sentiment might be more skewed than it is.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 15, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what Strasburg is eating for breakfast...

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The real issue right now isn't about Manny being a good or bad manager, IMHO. The team is in a tailspin and something needs to be done to pull it out. Manny doesn't seem capable of being able to do that. So, a change has to occur to stop the free fall and bringing in someone new to 'manage' the Nats is the only thing mgmt can do to get the attention of the players. The status quo won't cut it any longer.

Posted by: Wallpass | June 15, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm feeling pretty confident about three things:

1. Firing Manny Acta won't substantially improve the club.
2. Hiring Jim Riggleman (or anybody else) won't substantially improve the club.
3. Replacing Mike Rizzo with another GM or Stan Kasten with a different president wouldn't substantially improve the club, either.

That's not to say those worthies don't bear some portion of the 'blame' -- just that midseason changes in losing teams usually don't produce a lot of improvement in the record.

It's analogous to the Wizards firing Ed Jordan a dozen games into the basketball season -- ostensibly because the team's play was 'unacceptable'. It didn't get a lot more 'acceptable' afterwards, either.

Teams replace managers because they feel like they have to do something and they can't figure out what else to do. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but it doesn't have to.

It also doesn't tell you much about Manny Acta's future as a manager. He could catch on somewhere else and be a big success.

We started the season with outsized expectations based on the Dunn signing. I think in some ways (offensively) the team is much improved. In others (defense and pitching), it's worse.

But I doubt that Earl Weaver or Sparky Anderson or Whitey Herzog or Casey Stengel could step in at this point and make it a hell of a lot better.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 15, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"CiL, given that Rosenthal's Acta rumor item ran at almost the same time as his Manuel is throwing his team under the bus piece, I wonder whether the former originated from a NYC rather than a DC source. Just saying."

1a, Sheinin and Boswell both purport to be MLB writers/columnists, a la Rosenthal, Gammons, etc. When was the last time that Sheinin broke some news? If the Nats are poised to implement a major shakeup throughout the organization (not just Manny), as Gammons reports, how long is it going to take before the local writers hop on that story?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 15, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"Having watched this mess all year, it annoys me that Acta is not being held accountable in the media for the performance of this team."

I thought the same thing yesterday, absolutely no one said anything bad against Manny, it was all "he couldn't win with what he was given." I believe the people saying this drivel have not watched a game all season. Look Manny seems like a very nice man and I hate that they are publicly humiliating him like this, but it is about a month past due for replacing him.

Posted by: skippy1999 | June 15, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

This team is 16-45 after 59-102. Those who say it's not Manny's fault are right to some extent. The majority of the blame is on the cheapskate Lerner's and The "Plan" Man.

However, Manny is clearly not getting the most out of his players and that is a managers job. This team is not that bad. To only have 16 wins in 61 games is ridiculous.

The time has come to make a change...Manny must go. I like the guy but, he's not getting it done.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 15, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I'd fire Manny because they're going to start making trades. You want a new boss (and hopefully a new attitude) in place before the new players come in. The current players have taken Manny's demeanor and the entire team plays with the "calm" win or lose. You don't want the new blood exposed to that when the trades start flying.

So I voted yes, with the caveat that we start trading vets immediately after.

The only players not up for grabs IMO are:

Zim
Zimm
Detwiler
Lannan
Martis
Dunn
Flores


Posted by: MBUSA | June 15, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I think Manny is an honorable guy. I'd like to see him succeed. But it won't be with this motley bunch. It'll be somewhere down the road with another franchise. I'm not naive enough to think the Nats will finish above .300 by changing managers, but I agree with the comments about Manny's lack of fire or passion or whatever. I think this club has a losing mentality and I think that's on the manager, fairly or not. Ask the same question that's been asked about some of the players - is this the guy you want in the position long-term?

Reluctantly, I say he has to go.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | June 15, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The old NCO in me has probably over simplified the cause and remedy to this snake bitten malaise. Lack of and need for discipline. If Manny were to stay, or his replacement needs to take this outfit (team, company, squad, stick, regiment, whatever) and pull on the choke chain. Bed checks, drills, drills, drills. Be at the park at 9 am for BP and infield. Run run run. Push ups. Practice all day and be ready to eat your opponent at game time. If you are going to lose, lose with extreme unit pride.

"The grandest assembly of real fighting men that I have ever seen, marching with their heads up as if they owned the world. Lean, hard-looking men, carrying their arms admirably and marching with perfect precision. They are Devils, not Men!" -Field Marshall Viscount Alanbrooke after witnessing the arrival of French Foreign Legionnaires, arguably the most disciplined soldier in the world, and an elite fighting force.

Posted by: 6thandD | June 15, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I agree with John Feinstein's excellent column, with respect to Acta, Rizzo, and everything else.

And I am one of those who, while dubious on whether replacing Acta will improve the club, believes we have reached the point where the failure to do it sends the message to the team and its fans that the current situation is acceptable.

At the very least, they owe Manny dignity, and if they are going to do it, stop screwing around and issuing non-denial denials. Do it this morning.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 15, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

What about an option for "they should have fired him a long time ago"?

I am convinced he is like the little league coaches who, after a loss, tell their team "Hey, you played great, they just beat us. As long as you had fun and played your best, it's OK!" That works in little league, but not at this level.

I can't stand his lack of involvement and emotion on the field, either. I'm not saying the replay calls at Citi were necessarily *wrong*, but there's no reason not to argue them, or at least go out and talk to the umps about them. Even if he gets tossed, it's not like they can't hear him. He needs to stand up for the team, and he just doesn't. Calls have gone against us a LOT this year and he has done nothing about it.

And when the players think the manager doesn't care, why should *they* care?

Yes, this team has its holes, and a good manager can't make them the 2002 Yankees or even the 2005 Nationals, but I do think a good manager can make this team more 'respectably bad' (say maybe playing .450-.475 ball) as opposed to what they're doing now.

And if they're winning slightly under half their games, it's much easier to make a case for this being a building year. But right now, they aren't building anything, other than possibly bad habits that aren't being corrected by the management.

Posted by: zaph | June 15, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Acta shouldn't be fired now. Just wait until the All-Star break if he has to go. Sad to say that a different manager isn't going to be the big fix we're all looking for. The plan for the rest of this year should be to flush out the talent we have at the major league level and develop a plan A,B,C, D & E for a solid bullpen for next year.

Posted by: srsharks | June 15, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@6thandD: Not sure what your point is. Things often didn't go too well for the French Foreign Legion, despite their elan.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 15, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

If you believe that Acta is a saint amongst all of this dysfunction then more power to ya!

Here is how it works, the Manager always takes the fall period!

I finally figured out the Gammons "prison mentality" quote. The FO runs the place as if it was Stalag 13.

The Lerners are a combination of Gen Burkhalter and Major Hochstetter
StanK is Col Klink
Rizzo is Frau Hilda
Acta is Sgt Schultz

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 15, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

CiL, I normally (nominally) agree with you, but you say, "If the Nats are poised to implement a major shakeup throughout the organization (not just Manny), as Gammons reports, how long is it going to take before the local writers hop on that story?"

What if this is a non-story? What if there really is no intention to fire Acta? What if Rosenthal, et al. are just wrong, skewed, selfinterested, misinformed, or otherwise bad journalists?

I'm not here to defend WaPo any more than I am here to defend Acta, but until there's an attributed quote or press release there's not a lot here to report, I'm afraid.

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 15, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I believe Manny needs to go. He lost me after that Mets series by sitting in the dugout after the HR reversal. However, I don't he should go right now and I def. don't believe that Riggleman is the answer. Once Buck Showalter is ready to come aboard they should fire manny and put Buck in there. Buck could really change the culture of this organization. He could bring Yankee pride and winning tradition, something the nats need.

Posted by: brothbart | June 15, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Manny Acta is a scapegoat for Kasten & the Lerners. Anyone with baseball knowledge could see before the season began that the Nats needed starters & relievers, better defense, had too many first basemen and outfielders. I thought Kasten knew how to assemble a team from his Atlanta years. Why didn't he do more? Is he afraid of losing his job so he didn't tell the Lerners what they needed to hear? No team can win with this pitching staff even with the potent offense the Nats have. It’s a shame that Acta would have to go while those who created this sorry team (sans Bowden) get to stay around. Is there any wonder why attendance is down?

Posted by: RLJComm | June 15, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"I think it may simply be that there's no overwhelming excitement when the presumed replacement is Jim Riggleman. If they were going to bring in a name guy the sentiment might be more skewed than it is."

Yup - that's me.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 15, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@6thandD: Not sure what your point is. Things often didn't go too well for the French Foreign Legion, despite their elan.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 15, 2009 10:30 AM
___________________________________________________________

Anything having to do with the arrogant French, I tend to ignore.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 15, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

To add to the "they owe Manny dignity" sentiment by meridian, I say they owe it to the organization to handle this properly. They look like buffoons on the field. They've looked like buffoons off the field all year heading up to opening day. If they're going to turn this thing around they need to start acting like a class organization from the top down. Things like this shouldn't take place in the media. Things like this shouldn't be done prior to sending your team on a road trip to one of the best teams in the game. Things like this are done behind closed doors, during a break, or during the off season. Things like this are done mid-season if you think you have a chance with your current roster to make a move within your division. Simply put, this ain't happening this season. I'm not advocating keeping Manny beyond this 2009. Quite the opposite. I think he's had his opportunity and hasn't earned his 2010 option. Make what roster moves you need to before the deadline and decline Manny's option in the offseason.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 15, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Acta should not be fired. Acta was not the one who put this awful bullpen together, which is why we (yes I said we) have lost most of our games this year. First fix the bullpen and give Acta a fair shot. This is the same craziness that led to Eddie Jordan being fired, even though his front line and star player were injured for most of the year. Give him a chance to win.

Posted by: poeticfire | June 15, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

505203

Can you keep the xenophobia to a minimum please.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 15, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

though i would say Acta is not the entire problem, i see the highlights where these guys are failing baseball 101 on top of having the worst losing record in the MLB.

Posted by: oknow1 | June 15, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Showalter makes sense to me also. Did he manage at Potomac? I forget.

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Manny is no doubt a fine person, and a good baseball man. But the team is flat, demoralized, and not playing with enthusiasm or passion. The manager sets that tone, and Manny's dignified, cerebral, "that's the way baseball is sometimes" approach has produced terrible results.

For me, a telling example of how many of the team are not focused: Last night, a foul ball is hit toward the on-field bullpen off the left field line. Several pitchers and a coach are standing by, and two pitchers are warming up. Willie Harris is giving chase to the ball and runs into one of the bullpen catchers. Were any of those guys actually watching the game? It sure didn't look like it.

The team is not playing sharp, fundamentally sound baseball. We're on our way to the WORST record in history. How does keeping Manny as manager help us? It's time for a change.

Posted by: zwheat | June 15, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

This has already not been handled with dignity. I'm fairly sure the national scribes, and Boswell, are currently penning articles about how we have embarrassed ourselves once again.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 15, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

well put rickety cricket.

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"What if this is a non-story? What if there really is no intention to fire Acta? What if Rosenthal, et al. are just wrong, skewed, selfinterested, misinformed, or otherwise bad journalists?

I'm not here to defend WaPo any more than I am here to defend Acta, but until there's an attributed quote or press release there's not a lot here to report, I'm afraid."

Understood, IHW, but that hasn't stopped Chico and the Post from jumping on the Acta story--with above-the-fold stories about "Acta's fate" and unattributed quotes saying that it "doesn't look good" for Many--without actually reporting anything new. So they are not treating it is a non-story. They are just, as usual, following the story, rather than leading.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 15, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

The only reason to keep Acta is to draft Bryce Harper next year. Acta has only proven one thing - the man can lose like nobodys business.

It is not like Eddie Jordan because Jordan actually won at one point. Rizzo needs a full year to see how his moves shake out, but we've seen what Acta is - and what he is not.

Losing cannont be tolerated and firing Acta is the only way to get the message across. Riggleman's not the answer, but you can't hire a name guy in the middle of the season. Bobby Valentine's Japanese contract is almost up, so he should be the guy brought in this offseason.

Acta should be fired for putting Patterson in right (a CF with no arm) and Dukes in center (a RF with limited success in CF). Then he puts a real SS at 2B in Gonzales instead of flip-flopping him and Guzzie defensively.

The talent on this team is not the worst in baseball. It's the best team Acta's been given by his own admission and he's doing his worst job.

There is absolutely no down side to firing Manny Acta. It cannot get any worse.

Posted by: sec307 | June 15, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

There's a poll I'd like to see.

Valentine or Showalter?

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Outfield was built the wrong way but, with no experience at 2b, now is not the time to switch Guzman. At all.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 15, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

O-dog would have been a key free agent sign for us this past year.

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

O-dog would have cost us draft picks and it's not as if we would be winning much with him.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 15, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget good ol Phil Garner. Scrap-Iron can save us!

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 15, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

This is all academic; firing the manager in situations such as this is a given - be it right or wrong. In the cases of Tom Landry and Joe Gibbs it would have been terribly wrong but here we have a death of a thousand drops scenario and Acta may has well alredy have packed his bags.
Thanks for the effort Manny

Posted by: pd2710 | June 15, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I thought O-dog wasn't offered arbitration. 2b has been a hole all year, offensively and defensively.

What this team needs is a rainout. Maybe even a lockout.

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the Lerners are reading these blogs, columns, and comments. If they were, they'd probably wake up and do something.

Time to take direct action:

Call or write to the Lerners at:

Lerner Enterprises
2000 Tower Oaks Boulevard
Eighth Floor
Rockville, Maryland 20852
301.284.6000
Fax: 301.692.2626
http://www.lernerenterprises.com/contact.html

Tell them you are passionate about the Nationals and need them to take immediate and direct action to improve the team. If you're a season ticket holder (full or partial), tell them that you'll withhold or cancel your tickets unless they do something now.

I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!

Posted by: luv2bikva | June 15, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

How about Mike Hargrove?

Posted by: twinbrook | June 15, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

While we're throwing names out there - Kirk Gibson.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 15, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Sure let's fire Manny Acta because the new guy will make good piches not walk batters after going 0-2 , make certain the fielders will not drop simple fly balls and correct poor throwing errors and baserunning
These guys get paid to play professionally do you really think a new manager can make this bunch of misfits play better .
The team he inherited is pathetic and if you think firing him is the answer then guess what?? you're just as pathetic

Posted by: kjmoon | June 15, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

He would have been useful. I still maintain the gamble with Hernandez and Gonzalez was the right choice. Fact is this team is further than an O'Dog from even being respectable.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 15, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Or, if they want to go with a more traditionally Washington approach, what about hiring the frozen head of Ted Williams? At least it wouldn't make any dumb moves.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 15, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"We don't know how good or poor a manager Manny is."

I don't get this quote. He has proven time and time again that he indeed IS a poor manager. He doesn't put the best players on the field, his teams almost comically underachieve and he continues to be enslaved by pitch counts.

The fact that this poll isnt 80/20 or greater in favor of removal is disturbing.

Posted by: RickFelt | June 15, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Chico has biased the poll with his "is this the right time" question.

Posted by: JayBeee | June 15, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Is the poll being run by the same people who did the vote in Iran?

Posted by: twinbrook | June 15, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

You can't become disillusioned if you didn't have illusions to begin with. DC doesn't have more than a small core of knowledgeable baseball fans, and only a small number of them (maybe double digits) are here on NJ. So don't be disturbed, RickFelt. There's a lot of fly balls hitting the ground in here, too.

********
The fact that this poll isnt 80/20 or greater in favor of removal is disturbing.
Posted by: RickFelt | June 15, 2009 11:16 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

although (and I probably shouldn't mention this) the poll does allow multiple votes. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Manny has been on the hot seat since the team started the season on a losing streak.

Last year he had injuries to blame and this year you can still unload partial blame on JimBo and the state of the bullpen and DCab and backup players.

If only they can align the good pitching now with the mid-April hitting.

Anyone ask Eckstein his opinion on the batting?

Trash Kearns and keep Manny!!!

Posted by: dmacman88 | June 15, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Where are you vote repeaters in the All Star balloting? Our boy Zimmerman is still way behind Wright!!

Posted by: RickFelt | June 15, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I think "is this the right time" is the right way to ask it - I'm one of the people who thinks Manny should go but that time was weeks ago.

That said, JayBeee, if you want to post your own poll and send us a link I'm happy to vote. I'd be curious as to whether I'm the only one who thinks the "Fire Manny" window has closed.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 15, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

A lot of good managers have been fired (see Joe Torre) Manny maybe a good manager sometime in the future in a different team, but right here, right now, it is not working out. It is not that the team is losing, it is how they are losing. Consistent mistakes that reflect Manny's take-things-as-they-come attitude. A manger change will not save this season, but will set a new tone that can be carried into the offseason.

Posted by: Tom8 | June 15, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm still thinking that there is a possibility that they are negotiating with an out of work manager. Why else wait three days?

I am also wondering if Acta is as intelligent as Fienstien makes him out to be. I think that he freezes when it is time to make a decision and that his bench coach is afraid to make suggestions. How else do you explain some of the hair-brained decisions like not bunting in obvious bunt situations? Not squeeze bunting last week in the rain with the winning run on third base with one out? Playing players out of position with a day off the next day. The hard and fast rule of lifting starters no matter how well they are doing. What other team does that?

Not questioning umpires calls. Acta is not going to win one of those arguments but it shows the players that he supports them instead of sitting on his rear end in the dugout while they boil. I'd bet you that he doesn't have the respect that Feinstien claims.

Posted by: MKadyman | June 15, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@RickFelt:

You hit the nail on the head. Manny's demonstrated time an again that he IS a poor manager. None of this 'he doesn't have any players' crap. It would be one thing if they were playing well fundamentally, but just lacked the offense and pitching overall. But that's not the case with these Nats. They consistently look like total buffoons in the field, at the plate, on the bases and on the mound. And THAT is something a manager can control.
Manny ain't all of the problem - but his performance is sending the squad in the wrong direction. As Feinstein wrote, the inertia is all towards the bad. And that is most definitely the manager's fault.

You idiots voting not to fire him are the same one content with mediocrity. You can't win unless you expect to win. The Nationals and specifically Acta, don't.

Posted by: SavedByZero | June 15, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I missed this one. Can you provide a link?

---

I agree with John Feinstein's excellent column, with respect to Acta, Rizzo, and everything else.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 15, 2009 10:27 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Boy, it's nice being called an idiot by a guy that immortalizes a car commercial that we all need to forget.

A bigger question: a couple people say the team is demoralized or the team has quit. What evidence are you using to arrive at this conclusion?

Posted by: Section506 | June 15, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"You idiots voting not to fire him are the same one content with mediocrity"

No, you knuckle-draggers voting to fire him are too stupid to realize that if Acta is really a problem, he's about priority number 500 on this team's problem list.

Unfortunately, though, "fire Manny!" is about as you can get working both of your brain cells at once.

Posted by: joebleux | June 15, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm a very frustrated season ticket holder. Even the Bad News Bears could win more than 7 games a month. Nats are on pace to win 39. Major league historic low is 40, so we are talking epic season here. What does it take to start improvement process? Not much you can do during season, except fire the manager. Manny I love ya, really. I think you are a good man who has bravely faced the challenges and pathetic roster the owners have given you (after little off-season investment). But sometimes a change is needed, and they can’t fire the whole team. Manny it’s time to go. Besides it will save you from being at helm when team makes history. And LERNERS, spend some of your Billions. What are you doing with the PROFIT you made in '08? Unbelievable. If you weren't committed to winning, and the investment needed to do so, you shouldn’t have bought the team! Hey MLB, can we open the bidding again?

Posted by: 4jhawks | June 15, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I missed this one. Can you provide a link?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 11:38 AM

Whether or Not This Is Final Acta, Nats Need to Change Script
By John Feinstein
Monday, June 15, 2009; 9:54 AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/15/AR2009061501228.html

Posted by: Kev29 | June 15, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

keep him - his name is on the jersey that i wear to every game. also, the only active National of whom I have a jersey.

Posted by: sect104 | June 15, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Joe Torre at least gets tossed from a game once in a while. Acta accepts losing. You can't do that as a manager. Period. I agree with others here that we need a name guy, like a Showalter, Hargrove, etc. who will grab the players attention right away. Laugh if you will, but how about Rob Dibble?? He knows the game, has fire, the Lerners seem to like him.. He's been around the team. The shock value would be unreal.. Do it! If not him, how about Ray Knight? Honestly, losing seems to upset those two guys more than it does Acta.. Two great candidates right under our noses. This team needs a jolt. I dont wanna see 120 losses. Draft pick or no draft pick. Losing every freaking night is ridiculous.

Posted by: podline6 | June 15, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The "Name That Interim Manager" discussion begins and ends with:

Don Freaking Baylor! He's even an internal hire. How can that possibly go wrong?

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 15, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

NJ Debate Rule No. 1: If someone has a different point of view than yours, you should either (a) threaten them or (b) question their level of knowledge or intelligence. That's sure to win hearts and minds to your own point of view. Riiight...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

RicketyCricket has it right,

If all they can come up with is Jim Riggleman, then just let Manny stay and get someone new in the off-season.

You can do better than Manny. The pro-Manny faction knows this. He frustrates me too (why the love for Willie Harris?). But firing Manny sends the wrong message about where the accountability is for the on-field product. Someone once said that when you point your finger at someone, you have three fingers pointing back at you!

Posted by: EdDC | June 15, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, Kev.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Zero:

Some of "us idiots" think it would be beyond mediocre - indeed, it would be foolish - to saddle this team with Jim Riggleman just as it begins a nine-game stretch against three of the best teams in baseball.

If I'm getting somebody else who can a) motivate the vets b) manage the kids and c) "have an idea out there" during games then I'm all ears. Otherwise, pass.

If it's idiotic to prefer Acta to Riggleman then I'm guilty as charged. Let's just take our lumps this year and start fresh with someone else next year.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 15, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"As Feinstein wrote, the inertia is all towards the bad. And that is most definitely the manager's fault."

Actual clip from the article: "The current Acta soap opera points to the larger question, the issue that has plagued the franchise since the Lerner family took over: inertia. Everything moves in slow motion with this team." Feinstein obviousy is placing the blame for the inertia on the Lerners.

You don't need to make up stuff to justify firing Manny.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"If not [Dibble], how about Ray Knight?"

Because Jerry Coleman worked out so well for the Padres...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Look, I like Manny and think he will be a good manager, just may not be with the Nats. There are a number of great managers/coaches who got fired from their first jobs. Don't forget Torre was fired in Atlanta and St. Louis before landing with the Yankees. Terry Francona was fired by the Phillies before he won 2 WS with the Red Sox. And lest we not forget Belicheck's disasterous run in Cleveland before becoming a genius with the Pats.

This team needs a change and since you can't fire the team, think it has to be Manny. Unless he can show some fire, I think he is better suited to a contending team with a strong veteran presence rather than a bunch of kids trying to win games for a cellar dwellar.

Posted by: teamohall | June 15, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The best argument against firing Manny comes from the list of possible replacements. Bobby Valentine? Mike Hargrove? Buck Showalter? Don Baylor? Dibble or Knight? Yuck.

I'd go with Mariano Rivera. At least he'd be guaranteed to make a good move when it comes to picking a closer for the ninth inning.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

We must also not forget that Torre has about one 'this game could be beyond us unless I do some shouting' sort of call every couple of weeks. If Manny got in the umps face and yelled every time a call went against us that could lose is the game he'd be getting tossed most night. And lose relevancy.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 15, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"...if Acta is really a problem, he's about priority number 500 on this team's problem list."


I agree with (this part) of what joebleux has posted here.

Can we trade a manager for a closer?

I know there have been various managers who also played, but has there ever been a manager who was also a pitcher? If so, ever a non-starting pitcher?

What other positions has a player-manager ever NOT played?

It would be awesome to trade Acta for Schneider and have him catch and manage for the rest of the season until Flores is back ... and then just manage. Maybe?

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 15, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

To me the reasons for letting him go now are:
1) Don't wait till the beginning of next year to start over. Institute any change in philosophy, approach, training practices now.
2) Respect may not yield motivation. Yes he is respected in the clubhouse, but are players too comfortable with failure? Send in the disciplinarian now.
3) If you let him go now, he has a better chance of finding another job for next season.

The best reasons for waiting:
1) Firing the manager of this team is not going to result in a dramatically better record.
2) Riggleman is not necessarily a better manager.
3) The GM should be made permanant before the Manager is replaced.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 15, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I'm still not anti-Acta. Just adding some humorous speculation.

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 15, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

If they fire him now, they have to replace Manny with an interim manager, because they haven't had time to interview candidates for a "permanent" manager (an oxymoron if there ever was one). And if they do that, and don't pick someone already on staff, like Riggleman, it had better be because he turned them down, or they look even worse. So it's probably Riggleman, maybe Listach, or someone else on staff, for the rest of 2009, IF they fire Manny.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Interesting how Feinstein doesn't include Manny among the excuse-makers. Funny-cut grass? Unlucky because a HR just made it into the cutout in LF yesterday? Lack of accountability and ridiculous excuses are one of the primary reasons out of many as to why he should go.

I don't harbor any illusions that a new manager will significantly turn things around this season. But, a new manager might just demand excellence and accountability. Create an environment where our young starters are pushed to excel, and not to accept--and expect--mediocrity. Expectations make a difference. Manny has proven that he is the wrong guy for this team.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 15, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

CiL

I don't think anyone believes that a new manager will turn us into the Yankees. Or even the Marlins.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 15, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

505203

Can you keep the xenophobia to a minimum please.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 15, 2009 10:42 AM
_____________________________________________________________

Lighten up Francis.

Never said I hated them, I just think they tend to be arrogant. I don't think that is an outrageous opinion.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 15, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

soundbloke, I've seen several posters comment, in so many words, that a new manager "won't make a difference," as far as W-L is concerned, so why should the Nats fire Manny. My point is that in my view, there are reasons beyond the bottom-line wins and losses as to why he should be fired.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 15, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Anyone read the Wash Times today? Thom Lovarro lights into Dibble. Pretty interesting read.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I apologize for being harsh but to "demand excellence" and expect something different from this team is the equivalent of making chicken salad out of you-know-what. This is the same as the argument that "they should have more infield practice."

Look at the starting pitching matchup for any game this year. Look at where most of our bullpen pitchers were before we got them (the unemployment line). Look at the guys we got rid of and see what they're doing. Rank all of the players in the league at a particular position and see where the Nats players fall on those lists. Then explain to me how a new manager can change things with new expectations or motivational tools.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

If you can coach, you can coach--shouldn't matter where, or who.

No nonsense. A proven winner. As fiery a coach as anyone could want. A complete surprise, and probably a good draw at the gate.

Pat Summitt.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Bobby Valentine?!? That's funny, but I suppose doable.

But Buck Showalter?!?!? Please, no!!! It took me years of praying to get him out of NY, don't make me start over with my fave NL team too! Or OK, we can hire him, but only with the explicit proviso that he be fired after he returns us to respectability!

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | June 15, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Ha, that's good, baltnova.

It reminds me of when the Islanders hired then-goaltender Garth Snow to be their GM. As one fan put it, "The best move the new GM has made so far is getting rid of our terrible backup goalie."

Acta's replacement would be an interim GM. They would need to interview minority candidates, per MLB regulations. So there's really no chance we'd see the manager of the future taking the helm for the rest of the season.

Which means it would be kind of like when the Redskins fired Norv Turner and turned to Terry Robiskie - for three games. I don't understand how that would be satisfying for fans.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 15, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I think you have to replace him too, if only because this team needs to start focusing on fixing any and all problems we have. I was just wallowing.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 15, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

hey, it makes as much sense as "hire the announcer."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The Rox are 13-4 since firing Hurdle
_______________________

Yes, and that franchise is 1 1/2 years removed from playing in a World Series. The Nats are 1 1/2 years removed from their only finish out of last place.

Fire Manny for his own sake, make Riggleman caretaker manager for the rest of the year (as he did in Seattle in 2008), use the rest of the season to judge the young players while getting what you can for those who don't fit in this team's future, then hire a new GM who in turn will hire a manager.

This organization, like it or not, needs to start from scratch with a total overhaul and get everyone on the same page. Painful, sure, but there are no quick fizes -- Loria, MLB and Bowden have devolved this into an expansion team for all intents and purposes. (Just what Washington needed after not having experienced a pennant race since 1945.) And how can anything be more painful than this current disaster?

Posted by: VPaterno | June 15, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The fact that this sentence was written by an American is too ironic for me express.

-----

Never said I hated them, I just think they tend to be arrogant. I don't think that is an outrageous opinion.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 15, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Red meat, JiM.

*******
I don't understand how that would be satisfying for fans.
Posted by: JohninMpls | June 15, 2009 12:17 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, balto, for one thing, he can expect that the starters make it past the 5th or 6th inning every night. Some nights, they clearly can make it deeper into the game--but Manny's quick, irrational hooks deprive them of the opportunity even to prove it. Are we grooming 5-6 inning pitchers in Lannan, Zimmermann, Detwiler, etc? To judge by the way Manny manages games, you would think we are.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 15, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"Never said I hated them, I just think they tend to be arrogant. I don't think that is an outrageous opinion.

Posted by: Section505203"

And if anyone here would ever know anything about arrogance, it would have to be this guy. Personally I'll take his xenophobia over his potty mouth any day of the week.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 15, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Now, now.


The Lovero Dibble column:
http://tinyurl.com/n45ml7

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

While the Diamondbacks are 15-20 since Bob Melvin left (at which point they were 12-17).

---

The Rox are 13-4 since firing Hurdle

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Tic Toc Tic Toc the Croc is gettin closer Captain Acta.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps more relevant:

The Mariners went 25-47 before firing John McLaren last year. They went 36-54 with Jim Riggleman at the helm. Not a big difference, percentage wise. (They finished at 61-101).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Nunof,

Being that you are the biggest bloviating, arrogant, know it all on this blog I guess you would know, Huh?

Posted by: Section505203 | June 15, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Now that you mention it, I don't think BoMel would be such a terrible pick.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

2) Riggleman is not necessarily a better manager.
-----------------------------------------

Thank you, I hope they have another option. Yikes!

Posted by: PattyinSJ | June 15, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Gee, THANKS Baltova. I just had a chicken salad sandwich for lunch.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"Acta's replacement would be an interim GM. They would need to interview minority candidates, per MLB regulations."

Are you sure MLB has regulations about interviewing minority candidates like the NFL does? A couple of years ago when the Orioles fired Sam Perlozzo and made Dave Trembley the interim guy, they gave him the permanent job later in the same season (ironically, early in the day of their 30-3 loss) and I don't recall any mention of minority candidates being interviewed in the interim. And I read the Orioles' newspaper of record (aka the Washington Post) pretty religiously.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 15, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

All those Dibble lovers out there should really read the Loverro column. Might be the best thing the Wash Times has published in years... He never talked to St Claire? Not once? Unbelievable....

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/15/its-not-exactly-observe-and-report-for-dibble/

Posted by: amo36 | June 15, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

CiL, re: expecting the starters to "make it past the 5th or 6th inning every night," from the Wikipedia posting on Mark Prior:

"However, sportswriters and fans began to criticize Dusty Baker on the high pitch count of the two pitchers. Despite the concerns, Prior and Wood continued to pitch high counts throughout the season. In 2003, Prior averaged 113.4 pitches per starts in regular season. In the month of September, Prior recorded 126 pitches per start. Prior averaged another 120 pitches games in the Postseason and struggled with an injury the next season. Pundits often blame Baker for ruining the careers of both pitchers."

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Sec3, my apologies. I owe you lunch.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Re: Manny's use of the bullpen, this from Sheinin's chat:

"I can't fault Manny's use of his bullpen. Let's just say he wasn't given much to work with. He knows what he's doing there -- and I'm not just saying that. This comes from talking to the veteran relievers, opposing managers and scouts."

Posted by: joebleux | June 15, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

balto, it wasn't solely pitch counts for those guys, as even demonstrated by the wikipedia quote you provided--it was innings, as well as average pitches. Our guys are nowhere close to there, and I'm not suggesting that Manny should be fired because he's not Dusty Baker. I'm suggesting that he should be fired--for one reason out of many, many others--because he accepts mediocrity, as demonstrated in part (and again, there are many other ways that he demonstrates this as well) by his quick hook, even when guys are pitching well and have *low* pitch counts.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 15, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

re: hiring managers:
http://tinyurl.com/nejzau
So I believe the answer to your question, nunof1, is yes.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Coming right up. Uh, never mind.

---

Sec3, my apologies. I owe you lunch.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"All those Dibble lovers out there should really read the Loverro column. Might be the best thing the Wash Times has published in years... He never talked to St Claire? Not once? Unbelievable...."

Loverro was really calling St. Claire just to make sure he'll still get some deer jerky next spring even though St. Claire has been fired. The whole Dibble conversation only occurred in passing and was really just so Loverro could expense the cost of the phone call.

A so-called journalist who has books like "Orioles Essential: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Real Fan!", "Eagles Essential: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Real Fan!", "Hail Victory: An Oral History of the Washington Redskins" and "Washington Redskins : The Authorized History" on his own resume really has no business accusing another guy (who's not even claiming to be a journalist in the first place) of getting too cozy with the team he covers, just because he uses "we" when he criticizes them. Hypocrisy, thy name is Thom. (And mercenary, too. Eagles?!?!?)

Posted by: nunof1 | June 15, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

So THAT's what the "No soft toss against the fence" signs meant ...

**********************
Coming right up. Uh, never mind.
---
Sec3, my apologies. I owe you lunch.
Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 12:37 PM ------
Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 12:48 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Trade the players, finish the year with Manny.

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

That's funny about the Eagles book, seeing as how Loverro has been known to badmouth fans from the City of Brotherly Love.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Laughing out loud here, sec3.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like in MLB interviews of minority candidates aren't required, just that they be considered in the process.

"The directive, issued by commissioner Bud Selig in 1999, doesn't specifically say teams must interview minority candidates. Rather, it requires that minorities appear on clubs' lists of potential hires for manager, general manager and several other executive posts.

"If a club has an opening in any of these positions, the club owner must notify me personally," Selig wrote in the directive. "In addition, your list of candidates must be provided to me. I expect the list to include minority candidates whom you and your staff have identified."

Posted by: nunof1 | June 15, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

How far is that post going?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

uh, not that post, the other post. Never mind.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

CiL, I think we're nitpicking here, because I actually agree they should fire Manny, but the innings pitched by our starters is clearly based on pitches. Zimm, Detwiler and Martis have had the chance to go deeper into a game when they keep the pitch count down. In Zimm's game against the Rays, he came out after five having thrown 92 pitches and having missed his previous start because of concerns over his arm. If he goes another inning, he'd likely get up to 105 pitches by the time he was done. Why do that, especially for such a prize prospect?

I think there's a point in time where you would want to teach these guys to extend themselves in a game, but not when you're a rookie.

As far as a quick hook, he's no different than virtually any other manager I've watched in recent years. It's what they all do.

And as for "accepting mediocrity," it's what they gave him. He chose to maintain his normal persona and be low-key while the walls were caving in. Maybe not what you or I would do, but that's Manny. I doubt if the next guy will do much better with a different style, if he doesn't get different players.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Good find, sec3. They do not have to specifically interview a minority candidate.

But they also just can't hire a long-term replacement for Acta without having a list of candidates that includes a minority. This could be happening right now, to be sure. But the process does seem to suggest they'd go down the interim manager path.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 15, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

sounds like "required for all practical purposes" -- or a dodge to say "Look! We even have it in the rules, sorta." -- depending on your POV. In any event, there's a bureaucracy to go through that probably takes more than a few weeks to do.
OTOH, it would surprise no one if they named a manager and then got told "Not so fast!" by the league.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Nats are gonna have a shot at another phenom next draft. Looks like Bryce Harper the stud catcher and next year's can't miss kid will be eligible and available next year. We better not turn this losing streak around now. Keep Manny Keep Manny.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Posting on this blog may feel good but accomplishes nothing

For those who are fed up, I strongly suggest sharing your thoughts (firmly but politely) with the team. The more real letters from real fans, the more impact we will have.

Write to:

Stan Kasten
Washington Nationals
Nationals Park
1500 South Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 2003

Posted by: bkriner | June 15, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Einstein's definition of madness: continuing to do the same thing, hoping for a different outcome. Apologists: do you really think that Manny is the only guy to get the job done if we ever turn this around?

Posted by: MinorLeagueFanatic | June 15, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

hey gang-and Natsfan!...Just back from a doc visit...2&1/2 hour wait -must wbe part of the NATS' ORG.Now off to 911-hear something cheerful! Yea, guess I'm here for the long haul, too. And sorry to all of you others with the same disease!No time to get to all the posts, have to wait til late tonight. And yea, at this point, i figure keep him. I mean, what would be the point? We need to dump this whole program-a patch just ain't gonna get it.(the hard drive-i.e. the Lerners-although it looks to be crashed, I see no chance of replacing it! So lets hope we can get a computer-programming genius so the future is not so far in the future! Hey-love to you all! And Go Nats......

Posted by: zendo | June 15, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I imagine such a list would be a little like putting a player on waivers--somebody might take them up on it. If they have names on the list, they have to be prepared to do at least a "make-it-look-good-for-the-media" interview. Of course, one hopes they'd be sincere, and if they draw up an honest list, they won't have to go out of their way to include minorities in the list.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

OMG, I Loverro telling us that members of the media are unprepared and speak without knowing what they are talking about?

This is shocking.

Without a doubt Dibble runs off at the mouth and is frequently wrong. I would have preferred someone else, but he's much better than I feared. And I've read Loverro's material before so: FYI, pot calling kettle black.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 15, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

>Such threats are beneath even you, Brue.

You've never been over to bpg. I can change your outlook on the human race. By expanding it.

Is Manny still the manager? When's the press conference? I love Stank's lisp - it turns me on.

Posted by: Brue | June 15, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Hmm.... putting 2 and 2 together...

Kasten was with the team in Tampa. Left to fly to NY and will be with the team in NY tomorrow.

The rumors say that Manny will be gone "in a few days" or "by the end of the week" - maybe Stan is traveling around and interviewing candidates under the radar and is (of course) interviewing minority candidates as well to satisfy MLB guidelines.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 15, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, anyway, Brue, but I'll take a pass on that. (I've actually visited a few times but never posted.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

That's exactly the scenario I was envisioning. The Nats are the last team that would be able to get away with anything.

-----

OTOH, it would surprise no one if they named a manager and then got told "Not so fast!" by the league.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 15, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

In other news, I received a team email saying that a "limited number" of single-game tix are now available for the Red Sox series. Whatever.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

That's exactly the scenario I was envisioning. It would probably be revealed later that the candidates had misrepresented their minority status. Heh.

---

The Nats are the last team that would be able to get away with anything.

-----

OTOH, it would surprise no one if they named a manager and then got told "Not so fast!" by the league.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 15, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

as opposed to an unlimited number?
Right.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Geez, I can't even cut and paste today.

It would probably be revealed later that the candidates had misrepresented their minority status. Heh.

---
That's exactly the scenario I was envisioning. The Nats are the last team that would be able to get away with anything.

OTOH, it would surprise no one if they named a manager and then got told "Not so fast!" by the league.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 15, 2009 1:15 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

anyway, José Oquendo (coaching 3rd for St.L. now IIRC) and Ted Simmons (Mil. bench coach?) should be on the list, i.a.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@1a1

I got the same email. I guess 30,000 is still a "limited number."

Posted by: SavedByZero | June 15, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Of all the teams that have played Major League Baseball in all the years, this team could have the worst record of all. If that is not a reason to dismiss the person that is in charge of the team day-to-day, I don't know what is. Compounding this fact with the fact that the team has some good ball players, makes firing the one that has them losing day after day a necessity. If the players like and respect Manny so much, why don't they produce for him; why don't they get two out hits; why don't they hold the opposition in a key situation; why don't they field? Manny is a nice guy, but does this matter? Was John McGraw a nice guy? I'm not sure that Manny truly gets that it matters to people that pay money to go the park, or that watch them every day, whether they win or lose. A change must be made.

Posted by: myecies10613 | June 15, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh, duh. I just realized. They have to sign Strasburg before they hire a manager, unless they don't need the leverage (they do) to attract a top-shelf candidate.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Or do they need to hire a manager before they sign Strasburg, since they'll need leverage in negotiations?

I think I just confused myself.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 15, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Of course, a true top-shelf candidate would know that once-in-a-lifetime pitchers come up every year.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I've never read a Thom Loverro article in my life (until this Dibble one just now), but he looks like an idiot and his article certainly confirms it.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | June 15, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

agree with VPaterno and zendo.

Riggleman's record as the designated stand-in manager is pretty horrific. Kasten, Rizzo etc. just don't seem to have it where this team and DC is concerned. Inviting Philly fans to the ballpark? Philly fans? The same as inviting Dallas Cowboy fans to fill up Fedex or worst, RFK on a Sunday.

Kasten doesn't get it. Rizzo apparently doesn't get it. Manny needs seasoning as a manager just as his young pitchers do.

Bring back Frank Robby. At least the guy is well known locally ... (especially considering what he and his Orioles did to the Senators.) Or bring in Frank Howard. Tim Foli? Another Mets product? Howz about the guy managing the PNats, Trent Jewett, he seems to like to win while training the young guys. Maybe they need Menhart too.

Perhaps to some this sounds silly, but the choices are just as in the past (re: Billy Martin / Casey Stengal) find a manager who is entertaining, and can make the team (even when losing seem entertaining) or find a manager who can teach and win.

The season is toast. Might as well make the best of things and do the right things for the franchise.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine any manager who would make a difference to Scott Boras.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

OTOH, no non-desperate candidate would be caught dead with a franchise that blows signing TWO #1 picks in a row...
******
Of course, a true top-shelf candidate would know that once-in-a-lifetime pitchers come up every year.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 1:26 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

From Sheinin's online chat today:

Section 117: Hi, Dave,

Would you agree that the defining moment for Acta was when he didn't question the umpires about the fan-interference home run call at Citi Field?

I can understand his desire to avoid getting thrown out of games, but some of the best managers know how to talk to the umps without getting tossed (Torre, LaRussa and Francona come to mind).

Dave Sheinin: Hi Section 117.... Yeah, if I had to pick the defining moment, that would be it.

Posted by: ericp331 | June 15, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

1) Shouldn't we just make Scott Boras the manager and get it over with?

2) Just curious: are the Nats cleared from having to interview minority candidates given that their last two managers were minorities?

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Seattle wasn't the first time Riggleman was called to replace a fired manager. The results were pretty much the same and all too familiar.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Of the managers in the minors, given Foli's ability to take the FA's and "prospects" and make it go ... not sure how much input he had in selecting guys like JD Martin, and Padilla. But those guys look major league ready now. His record with Syracuse is due in good part to having those sort of players to go along with the Mock's and Rivera's. It seems to have "inspired" Bally to start pitching better again.

Jewett wins and seasons prospects in advanced A. Why not give him a chance?

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

periculum - I'd submit that the quality of instruction and day-to-day care and feeding of the guys in the minors are more important to this organization than the W/L record of the major league team. That's why we won't see an internal promotion from the minor league system as an interim fix. As a long term candidate after the season? Perhaps. But if Manny is let go mid-year, dollars to doughnuts it's Riggleman who gets the tag-your-it call from Kasten.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 15, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

This writer makes a pretty good case for Valentine:

http://tinyurl.com/leh4fb

Posted by: SavedByZero | June 15, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"Move on to who? Corey Patterson? He's been a pro for over ten years and he still doesn't know how to bunt or shorten his stroke. Langerhans? He still swings like he thinks he can hit 30 homers. Maxwell? He's more concerned with looking pretty than hitting the ball. There is nobody ..."

Not quite. Padilla is hitting .357 in 143 at bats. Against the same pitching that Maxwell, Langerhans, and Patterson have been seeing. (.217, .263, and .256).

Has pretty much hit around .300 his entire minor league career. Has has some injury problems is around 30 ... so what? What have you got to lose?

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman stinks is not a good enough reason to keep Manny on. We are on pace to be the worst team in the history of the game - how does the manager not get fired for that?

Whatever Riggleman's record is, it's better than Acta's. Manny's had plenty of time to turn this around, but it just keeps getting worse. He must be sacrificed.

Posted by: sec307 | June 15, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

It could get worst with Riggleman. What purpose would that serve? Might as well stick with Manny.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

John Feinstein's column about Acta uses this phrases, variations of which I've seen on this blog, in Boswell columns and elsewhere: "If Acta is fired now, you can bet he's going to get another managing job down the road, and there's a very good chance he'll be a success." Why is Acta's future success rated as "a good chance"?

I suspect it's wishful thinking -- that we don't want to think that we fired Frank Robinson and wasted 3 seasons for someone who wasn't cut out to manage at the Major League level.

Looking objectively, I see very little evidence that he's a good manager. The team has gotten worse every year under his tenure; the Nats' first-month record (before injuries and lethargy kick in) under him has gotten progressively worse each year. Defense has been sloppy throughout his reign. He doesn't seem to instill fear in either opposing teams or officiating crews. His own team seems indifferent to him. (I can't recall hearing a Nats player mention Acta in an interview.) His strategy for changing pitchers is suspect. So, based on what we've seen, why do so many people assume "he's going to get another managing job down the road, and there's a very good chance he'll be a success"?

Clearly Acta is not the root of all of the Nats' problems. But, it's clear he's not a solution, either. Why would a team in need of a manager (whether that's a struggling team who fires its manager; or a successful team whose manager retires) hire him? And, why do so many people assume Acta will be great? (It's not a rhetorical question -- I'd really to know)

Posted by: mvm2 | June 15, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"Would you agree that the defining moment for Acta was when he didn't question the umpires about the fan-interference home run call at Citi Field?"

Yeah, it defines Manny as being intelligent enough not to pointlessly ask questions to which he already knows the answer.

The umps went in, reviewed the replays, and made their call. Given that, you already know what they're going to say: "inconclusive evidence".

Posted by: joebleux | June 15, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman's record is pretty bad. I don't think they should go there ... bring someone up from the minors or reach outside before you pull the trigger on that one.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

All this makes this organisation look even less classy than before. Really pathetic.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 15, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"You've never been over to bpg. I can change your outlook on the human race. By expanding it."

Including lower forms of primate in your discussion group does not constitute expansion of the human race, brue. Does the zookeeper over there know you've escaped yet?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 15, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Looks like I missed all the fun.

Anyone, anyone else: Manny Acta is a good manager for vets, bad for rookies.

Thoughts?

Posted by: Section506 | June 15, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

According to Jon Heyman, Riggleman is interim -- Nats are considering other, permanent candidates long term. Including Bobby Valentine. At least Valentine shows some emotion.

Posted by: raymitten | June 15, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@periculum

"It could get worst (sic) with Riggelman"
---------------

Surely you're kidding right? The Nats have 16 wins. Can it really get WORSE?

Posted by: SavedByZero | June 15, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Okay, What about Tim Foli to manage?

Posted by: twinbrook | June 15, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Chico - any updates on whether anything is going on up in NY today? Is Kasten around?

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | June 15, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

No, things cannot get worse with Riggleman. You really can't get worse than .295. I mean that's the bottom line. You can get to .000, but when you get below .300 you have already reached the definition of dead. And in this case, there is not a big difference between dead and mostly dead.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 15, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"Would you agree that the defining moment for Acta was when he didn't question the umpires about the fan-interference home run call at Citi Field?" Actually, I'd say it was the next day, on the disputed "Subway $5 Sandwich home run." Again, Acta didn't argue the call. During a long review, he didn't bother to come out and ask Adam Dunn what he saw. He didn't emerge from the bat cave when Dunn argued the erroneous call with the umpires. And, yet, after the game, Acta was griping about the call, saying it was obvious the call was in error. I suspect that's when he lost the team: I know I'd be thinking, "He doesn't have our back; he won't argue calls; and when he does support us, it's too little too late."

Posted by: mvm2 | June 15, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"No, things cannot get worse with Riggleman. You really can't get worse than .295. I mean that's the bottom line."

If the players quit on Riggelman, would that be getting worse, even if the win percentage stayed the same?

Posted by: Section506 | June 15, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I think it is the right time. They have nothing to lose at this point. Just see if anything is different if a new manager comes in. What are you going to gain by keeping him, things can't possibly get any worse than what it already is right now. Sometimes a new leader works, sometimes it doesn't, but you'll never know if you don't try, seriously, it can't get worse than it is right now, they are just finding new ways to lose games, even if it isn't by their own doing (last game was unlucky.) We've seen it work (Bruce with the Caps,) we've seen it not change anything (Ed Tapscott with the Wiz.) That's just my opinion, and I will feel bad cuz Acta is really nice but sometimes you just need a new voice, a new leader. :/

Posted by: rachel216 | June 15, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Chico, kudos on inspiring comments, but the way your poll is worded is problematic.

For instance, if I answer: "No, this is not the right time to fire Acta" am I saying that he should be fired in the future or that he should have been fired in the past? And if I don't think he should ever be fired, but should be given a lifetime appointment how can I answer this at all?

Posted by: Section506 | June 15, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Did this ownership/front office hire Acta? If so then that's all the reason you need to fire him.

He's not even a serviceable manager and all this hypothetical talk of him somehow getting a job further down the road and winning World Series a la Torre and Francona is completely ridiculous. For every one of those successful nice guy managers there are 30 that are failures.

Posted by: RickFelt | June 15, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

@506
Wouldn't the answer "no" capture the sentiment, "I don't think he should ever be fired, but should be given a lifetime appointment"? (Seems to me "Yes" would suffice for the "He should have been fired a long time ago" impulse...but I guess I see where you're coming from there.)

Posted by: mvm2 | June 15, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Is this quite possibly the largest blog entry in NJ history?

Might we actually beat the Redskins Insider? :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | June 15, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

What's this .295 talk btw? We're at .263 and falling (.250 after the Yankees sweep).

Posted by: RickFelt | June 15, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

It actually could get worse under Riggleman if it offers false hope and a shifting of blame away from the ones who are responsible for this mess. An overall change in club philosophy in investing in the on-field product, and how best to do so, is needed.

The distraction of a managerial change buys some time when that is not a good thing. The bigger questions need to be addressed, not just changing batting coach, pitching coach, GM and manager.

If the Nats fire Manny and continue to conduct business as usual, what's next? Fire Clint?

Posted by: EdDC | June 15, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's time to take a page from Clark Griffith and name a playing manager! I nominate Kearns. At least then the Nats would get something for the money he's making and he'd probably be too busy to put himself in the game.

You really have to wonder why a team with Nats' record even needs a manager. When you're 16-45, what exactly is it that Manny's bringing to the table?

Posted by: nats24 | June 15, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Is he gone yet? I keep refreshing my screen hoping for a new post.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 15, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Juan-John: This would beat Redskins Insider if the next post says "Acta fired"

Posted by: rachel216 | June 15, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"Wouldn't the answer 'no' capture the sentiment, 'I don't think he should ever be fired, but should be given a lifetime appointment'"

Nah, because the question was: "Is it the right time to fire Acta" so if you thought it should have been two weeks ago then it's not the right time -- two weeks ago was.

Posted by: Section506 | June 15, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

....and to complete that thought, the same answer would be the one for the lifetime appointment. It's not an exclusionary answer.

Posted by: Section506 | June 15, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey didn't know Riggleman was a Richard Montgomery grad. That should be a disqualifier right there. Just kidding. Settle down.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Have to figure Acta is gone by the 4th of July. Bergmann back to Syracuse. Lots of those "prospects" seem to fail over-and-over again. Perhaps its worth it to try the journeymen like JD Martin and Padilla who are actually performing beyond expectations down in the minors.

Unless you go out and sign quality free agents it seems like what you have to do while awaiting the prospects.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I've got it. Since nobody expects the interim manager to still be in charge come opening day 2010, why not a rotating 30 day schedule for the rest of 2009? There are at least three internal candidates who could each take a month in Riggleman, Don Baylor, and Ray Knight. This way just when the predecessor loses enough games to have people start calling for his head, there's a firing to satiate the bloodthirsty mob. You've got your replacements lined up and ready to go through mid September. And for the coup de gras, let Strasburg manage for the last 2 weeks. It's straight out of Government Agency Management 101 and perfect for DC.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 15, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

It's 2:30 pm. Do you know who your manager is?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"If the Nats fire Manny and continue to conduct business as usual, what's next? Fire Clint?"

THAT should have happened a long, long time ago.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 15, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Just remember Bryce Harper is waiting in the wings. You don't want to get to much better too soon.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

>Not quite. Padilla is hitting .357 in 143 at bats. Against the same pitching that Maxwell, Langerhans, and Patterson have been seeing. (.217, .263, and .256).

Has pretty much hit around .300 his entire minor league career. Has has some injury problems is around 30 ... so what? What have you got to lose?

More time. But yeah, you could throw him in there. Problem with a guy who's 30, unless he's changed something dramatic, they have years worth of video on him and his weaknesses will be well known. It's like Dunn - looked like he was trying to change into a .300 hitter by going the other way with more pitches, but he's reverted back to being a statue if it's not where he likes it, and swings too hard at the balls he likes, and now he's back down to .250. It's hard to change at that age.

Posted by: Brue | June 15, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"If the Nats fire Manny and continue to conduct business as usual, what's next? Fire Clint?"

Who is Clint?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I said this yesterday until i was white in the face(and trust me i ain't even close) HIRE TIM FOLI!!!!!.He was a better than average player and he can relate to today's player why not give him a chance,i cannot emphasize this enough do not hire Jim Riggleman keep him on as the bench coach to finish the season and then let Foli bring in his own crew if chooses to do so. The Lerners need to get this right replace Acta with Foli right now.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 15, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

This is too reminiscent of the last days and times of Mickey Vernon, the first manager of the AL expansionista Senators. Like Manny, Mickey was a nice guy and friend to all who never publicly said a bad word about anybody. But those qualities led the team to 100, 101 and the first 25 of 106 losses in 1963. It took a no-nonsense manager in Gil Hodges to come in, shake up the complacency and gradually increase the seasonal win totals from 56 to 62, to 70, to 71 to 76 before leaving to manage the Mets.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 15, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh boy, I can't wait for 76 wins.

Posted by: Section506 | June 15, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

The MLB needs a new rule, and I suggest they call it the "Lerner Rule." By June 15, if your MLB team has lost over 70 percent of its games played thus far, then the MLB owner must attend every single game IN PERSON for the rest of the season or forfeit ownership of the team to the MLB. The problem, of course, is not just Kasten, not just Rizzo, not just Acta, but Lerner. Until Lerner is held accountable for the way he is running the team he owns by the MLB, we won't see any change. But for the sake of the fans and the credibility of the MLB, the MLB organization itself has some responsibility. So it is time now for the MLB to act. Enact the "Lerner Rule" today. Make certain that Lerner has to sit through every miserable, lousy loss the rest of the season in person. Or take the ownership of the team away from him and let the MLB find another owner - that is the only REAL answer.

The organization that should be most embarrassed by the Lerner debacle should be the leadership of the MLB. The Lerner fiasco is undermining the credibility of MLB itself.

Posted by: jeff-in-dc | June 15, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

As stated earlier, just appointment Riggleman as interim manager the rest of the way, audition youngsters for the second half of '09 and then bring in an outsider as GM who will hire his own manager.

These "hire a fiery guy" types don't know what they're talking about. A few work, most don't (e.g., Larry Bowa). A fiery temper does not equate to competence.

Posted by: VPaterno | June 15, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"The Lerner fiasco is undermining the credibility of MLB itself."

What credit is that?

Posted by: Section506 | June 15, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Who is Clint?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

RicketyCricket, the Cubs actually did a more serious version of what you proposed back in the early 60's, the College of Coaches. From our old friend, Wikipedia: "After the Cubs finished 60-94 in 1960, their 14th straight second-division finish, Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley announced in December 1960 that the Cubs would use eight coaches as managers, rather than the traditional one-manager approach. Wrigley argued at the time, "Managers are expendable. I believe there should be relief managers just like relief pitchers...." The Cubs front office argued that under this system, players would be exposed to the wisdom and experience of eight coaches instead of just one field manager. Four would serve in the minors, while four would serve with the Cubs. Each member would serve as "head coach" before rotating back to the minors...The original idea was for the eight men to rotate through the entire organization from the low minors all the way to the Cubs, ensuring that players would learn a standard system of play...The head coach position rotated between four different men in 1961 and three more in 1962 — two were holdovers from 1961 — and all seven had losing records, despite managing teams with future Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and Lou Brock."

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Clint is the hyper-energetic guy doing the contests with the fans at the park. They've got a new young lady this year too, and they should just turn everything over to her.

Posted by: hats4bats | June 15, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Today is the 21st anniversary of the release of Bull Durham.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 15, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"More time. But yeah, you could throw him in there. Problem with a guy who's 30, unless he's changed something dramatic, they have years worth of video on him and his weaknesses will be well known. It's like Dunn - "

"Posted by: Brue | June 15, 2009"

Dunno, looks like he HAS changed a great deal. He hits for a significantly higher average than he ever has before. Around fifty points. Doesn't go for power as much as he used to.

I think in Padilla's case, much like our beloved Nick Johnson, its about the season ending injuries he had earlier on.

If he's health enough, they should give him a shot.

Same with JD Martin. Tommy John's surgery. So? They still have Chico on their roster and he was never great shakes when he was health. Although the minor league pseudo-scouts/coaching "hot stove" types like to talk about him incessantly. I have no clue why.

Again, if the prospects can't manage then you try something else. The Orioles found an everyday third base men that way.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Candlesticks always make a nice gift...

Posted by: hats4bats | June 15, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman would be a complete waste of time. Given that the situation is bad by historic proportions ... if anything is done it should be something to meet the situation head-on. Not play yet another waiting game. "The Future Is Now" as George Allen used to like to say. Perhaps not in very case, certainly that appears to be true in this one.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@EdDC said ". . .Fire Clint?"
-----------
This may be the most logical and sane thing on this blog today.

Posted by: SavedByZero | June 15, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

LOL! hats4bats, i think I quote that line more than any other.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 15, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Clint is the hyper-energetic guy doing the contests with the fans at the park. They've got a new young lady this year too, and they should just turn everything over to her.
Posted by: hats4bats

ok thanks. Wow you guys are hardcore.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jon_heyman/06/15/nationals.acta/index.html?eref=T1

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | June 15, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

The Nats cannot hire a GM or field manager permanently without going through a complicated process. They have to abide by the minority hiring process that MLB agreed to several years ago. That's why Rizzo is still interim.

Posted by: natsguy | June 15, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"Today is the 21st anniversary of the release of Bull Durham."

Little known tidbit about Bull Durham. I do believe this is where Section505203's favorite couple, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, first met. Think how many future generations of liberals might never have been born had this movie never been made.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 15, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Manny is not the problem.

The team is the problem.

It is hard to win MLB games on a consistent basis with the talent of a Double A team.

When the team decided to stay with Bard and Nieves and not upgrade the catching while Flores it out, that told me Stan, the Lerners, et. al., had written off the season.

The management is looking forward to next season. Zimm2 was pulled the other evening after tossing only 92 pitches.

Why?

Manny did not want to risk injuring JZ's elbow.

Posted by: jbartelloni | June 15, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Don't know, Juan-John. There were some long entries during Barry's New England vacation one year (he had no web access, which kept him offline for the duration, if I recall correctly).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"and all seven had losing records, despite managing teams with future Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and Lou Brock."

"Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009"

Who where their pitchers? The best turn-around in local baseball history may have been when Ted Williams managed the expansion Senators. Record over .500, many hitters raised their averages over 50 points! Frank Howard was a .300 hitter, Epstein in the .290's, Brinkman went from a .200 good fielding hitter to a .260's guy. Ken McMullen, etc. His weakness purportedly was how he handled pitchers. Yet he had a decent pitching coach and a great bullpen. However, he really only had 2 truly major league starters in young Joe Coleman and Dick Bosman. After that it was guys who were well past their prime or guys who were AAA, AA journeymen.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

>Dunno, looks like he HAS changed a great deal. He hits for a significantly higher average than he ever has before. Around fifty points. Doesn't go for power as much as he used to.

Dunn's hitting .258 fyi. Padilla's got 2 homers and 5 rbi in 51 games. And he plays a power position RF. You gotta be kidding. Looking at the stats on the Syracuse page is brutal. It's a phone book listing of major-league trainwrecks. Bynum, Cintron, Padilla, Eldred, Gustavo (the fifth Beatle) Molina, Patterson, Vento, Langerhans, Milledge, Casto, Orr, Maxwell, Montz. That's not even looking at the pitchers.

I still think that Valentine might end up here, but they can't get him right now because he's still in-season over in Japan.

Posted by: Brue | June 15, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"When the team decided to stay with Bard and Nieves and not upgrade the catching while Flores it out, that told me Stan, the Lerners, et. al., had written off the season."

Yeah, look at the fine choices they had available to them last year when they decided to upgrade the catching position so they could leave Flores in the minors to get more seasoning. LoDuca. Estrada. That's the quality of player they'd be looking at right now if they wanted someone other than Bard or Nieves. If that's "writing off the season", count me as a happy co-signer to that.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 15, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Why do I get the sinking feeling that the Lerners and StanK would rather ask the man to resign rather then giving him the boot?

Looks like Thom "yeller teeth" Loverro trashed Rob Dibble today. I hope Loverro has decent medical insurance, Dibs aina't gonna like what Two-Ton Thom wrote in the other local fishwrap. Between Jr Feinstein and Thom Loverro, old Dibs is 0-2 in popularity amongst the scibes today.

Once again the ugly sports writer vs ex jock now booth analyst rears its ugly head. Journalist, especially in sports have always resented the fact that guys like Dibs get a shot in the booth just becuase they played the game. Well here's one for you Thom, you never played the game so STFU!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 15, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

So, yes a MANAGER, can make a HUGE difference. Part of that might be Ted Williams standing as a god hitter among the other gods in the Hall of Fame. You listen to Ted Williams when he talks hitting. Would you listen to Tommy McCraw who played for the last miserable offering of MLB to DC? He later became a hitting coach.

I think I would be all ears, eyes, and nose for what Ted had to say given the other alternatives even then!

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

@VPaterno, re: "These 'hire a fiery guy' types don't know what they're talking about. A few work, most don't (e.g., Larry Bowa). A fiery temper does not equate to competence."

I basically totally agree with you, the Frank Kush days are long gone, thank goodness. However... I would like my team's manager to have a pulse. Acta is a far cry from even the calmer types like Joe Torre. I think Torre's players feel he has their backs, is totally with them, and I don't think Acta's players feel that way about Acta any more.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | June 15, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"Dunn's hitting .258 fyi. Padilla's got 2 homers and 5 rbi in 51 games. And he plays a power position RF. You gotta be kidding. Looking at the stats on the Syracuse page is brutal. It's a phone book listing of major-league trainwrecks. Bynum, Cintron, Padilla, Eldred, Gustavo (the fifth Beatle) Molina, Patterson, Vento, Langerhans, Milledge, Casto, Orr, Maxwell, Montz. That's not even looking at the pitchers."

Montz has been demoted to AA.

That's what you have. The "prospects" clearly aren't ready are they? So, you pick the best of the "trainwrecks" and see what happens. Right now Padilla and Martin look to be the best.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, we did have a vote earlier for thawing out Ted Williams' head.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad some folks are actually talking about Padilla and Martin now. Padilla wouldn't be holding a prospect back if he takes Kearns' spot. And if the Nats aren't going to reward success at AAA, why does the FO bother to keep them on the roster there? There's nothing to lose at this point.

And BTW, the '63 Nats that Hodges took over ending up with 56 wins and actually had a 7-game winning streak. I'd settle for either of those totals for this year's Nats.

Posted by: nats24 | June 15, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The right time was over a month ago.

Posted by: charley42 | June 15, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I keep reading all these conflicting reports:

Acta has lost the players! (usually from anonymous posters)

or

Team plays hard and never gives up on Acta. (usually from writers or columnists)

I'm not sure what to make of this.

Posted by: longterm | June 15, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I bet Feinstein and Loverro are just jealous Dibble's not being held to objective journalistic standards.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 15, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

longterm,

You don't know whether to believe the professionals who earn their living reporting on the Nats or the amateurs who post anonymously? Gee, that's a tough one!

Posted by: EdDC | June 15, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

>Team plays hard and never gives up on Acta. (usually from writers or columnists)

I'm not sure what to make of this.

Trust your eyes. They consistently lose leads, and quit hitting after the 5th inning, and their defense is subpar. If they're playing hard, they're not playing hard for 9 innings.

Posted by: Brue | June 15, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Fire Acta? This FO didn't have the stones to even fire Bowden. They had to have the FBI basically do it for them. These guys are completely spineless and incompetent.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Candlesticks always make a nice gift...

Posted by: hats4bats | June 15, 2009 3:00 PM

-------

Hopefully, this is the kind of advice McCatty is now giving our hurlers...

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what the deal is. Charlie and Dave don't sugar-coat things, either, but I can't recall seeing the writers piling on them. Could it be a matter of pronoun use alone or does Dibble just rub some of them the wrong way? I can see where a guy with his personality might do that.

---

I bet Feinstein and Loverro are just jealous Dibble's not being held to objective journalistic standards.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 15, 2009 3:21 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"I bet Feinstein and Loverro are just jealous Dibble's not being held to objective journalistic standards."

No, they're probably jealous because he's making more than the two of them combined, and has a better-looking trophy wife to boot.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 15, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I think Acta should be fired.

To discuss this issue even further, head on over to ExtremeNats.com, another great Nationals site.

Posted by: DCNats | June 15, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"You don't know whether to believe the professionals who earn their living reporting on the Nats or the amateurs who post anonymously? Gee, that's a tough one!"

Haha, Ed, I think this was exactly longterm's point.

Posted by: Section506 | June 15, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Or this:

Don't think. You can only hurt the ball club.

---

Hopefully, this is the kind of advice McCatty is now giving our hurlers...

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Snarkdar malfunction, perhaps? I thought that Ed was being sarcastic.

---

Haha, Ed, I think this was exactly longterm's point.

Posted by: Section506 | June 15, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Longterm,

Believe the writers... and judge for yourself. The players play hard out there. Badly, yes. But the effort is there. Compare that to the Skins under Norv or Spurrier. Unlike many posters here, the Nats' players know it takes more than screaming or kicking dirt on an umpire to earn trust in the clubhouse.

I suspect Manny will be fired. Too bad. By all credible accounts -- which discounts all the opinions here! -- Manny is highly regarded. He'll do well as a manager, probably for a long time. But it doesn't seem likely that will happen here.

DCNats: go back to your own blog.

Posted by: outsider6 | June 15, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

To defend Manny now after Rosenthal's article is pointless. Once the word is out, it should happen as soon as possible.

Sometimes a manager change makes a difference. In Hockey it did, but I think 9X out of 10 it doesn't. Cal Ripken Sr. was fired after an 0 and 8 start. Frank Robinson replaced him and they lost 13 more games. You have to play with the players your dealt and face it, although our offense has been up this year, our pitching is horrible (especially the bullpen)!

You can't expect minor league pitchers, one of which was in A ball just last year; to learn OJT. Its too soon. I don't care if its Strasburg or Detwiler, they need the training and practice of how MLB is run in order to really succeed. Unfortunately, we're in a situation where we have to rush these kid's development and to tell you the truth; its not fair and its not working.

In A ball (Potomac), the pitchers don't even hit! What else don't they do in A ball that they do in the SHOW?! Jeez!

Posted by: CALSGR8 | June 15, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

periculum, not sure what the point is for the love thrown to Teddy Ballgame for his managing work. He did a great job in '69, but not much after that and from some books I've read, lost interest in the job pretty quickly.

As for your argument, "who'd you rather listen to, Ted Williams or Tom McGraw?", Charlie Lau may have been the best hitting coach of the 80's and he was a mediocre player at best. Dave Duncan is maybe the best pitching coach around today and he was not only a mediocre player, he wasn't a pitcher, he was a catcher. Earl Weaver and Jim Leyland were pretty damn good managers and never played in the big leagues.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

The management is looking forward to next season. Zimm2 was pulled the other evening after tossing only 92 pitches.

Why?
--------------------
Umm, I don't think this is a good slam on the management. Remember, JZ missed the start before because of a sore elbow. You DON'T want to overwork it on his first game back. Not a Good Thing (tm) whether or not you're looking to the next season.

Posted by: swang30 | June 15, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

BTW, why the hate toward Loverro? If Dibble is going to criticize how the manager and coaches are doing things, he should have the decency to go ask them why they're doing it first.

I would argue that Dibble's constant questioning of pitch selection and strategy helped get St. Claire fired. Maybe he should have talked to the guy once in a while before sticking it to him on the air.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

where's 6th & D? He seems to always have the scoop.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 15, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Padilla and Martin AAAA players. We already have had enough of that. They both have had 8 years or more in the minors and NOBODY wanted them. Why should we. We already have enough garbage players on this team. No more dumpster diving.

Posted by: natsguy | June 15, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Its not just Manny, its Rizzo (Bowden), and Kasten. Do they all get fired? Or does Manny take the fall. I guess if you go for one you have to go for all.

Makes sense to start with a new GM, hopefully with some talent and abilty, to hire a new manager and coaches.

Makes no sense to go with interim stuff at this point. They are digging their way deeper and deeper into the basement. Changes need to be made. But its not about Manny as many writers and bloggers have documented. Its a system wide disaster that needs to be resolved. Sooner is better.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

And who would you listen to if you were a major leaguer? Charlie Lau or Ted Williams, the last .400 hitter in baseball who hit for power even in the huge right field of Fenway.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I think the FO has now let this grow into two problems. First, the "eh, well...whaddya gonna do?" attitude that Manny projects has, imho, clearly set into the minds of the players. When is the last time you saw a player, after one of our many blunders, look p*ssed at himself? When has Manny held someone accountable? Yes, I realize yelling and screaming (ala Lou Pinella or Earl Weaver) isn't always the answer, but at least occasionally projecting a "this is unacceptable - no matter how hard you may be trying" image is sorely needed. Secondly, much as I think a change is long overdue, Manny has been a class act and letting him twist in the wind like this is yet another example of bad management. For goodness sake, either make a move or announce that he is here for the season and stick with it. Almost makes me wonder if the Lerners don't have some sort of financial reason for trying to get him to resign. We wouldn't want to dip into that 41M profit, now would we?

Posted by: smill411 | June 15, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

ACta failed when he didn't set up the team properly coming out of spring training. They should have never broken camp with that bullpen.

Earl Weaver said that, in season, a manager makes five games difference. BUT -- in spring training, he can make 25 games difference by the way he sets up his team. Supposedly every team wins 54 and loses 54, it's the other 54 that makes the difference. By failing to leave spring training with a serviceable BP, or a decent defensive OF, Manny cost the team 25 of those middle 54 games.

Posted by: gbooksdc | June 15, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"But Buck Showalter?!?!? Please, no!!! It took me years of praying to get him out of NY"

You couldn't have be a TRUE yankee fan if you wanted to see Buck go. Once Buck left because they wanted to fire his coaches and tried to hire him back after they gave the job to Torre, it left a sour taste in my mouth and I watched the Yankees and rooted for them, but it was never the same. Buck was the reason that they won. He brought them close in 1993, best record in 1994 (strike season) and brought them to the playoffs in 1995. Same thing happen in Arizona he built that team - fastest expansion team to reach playoffs. Buck has a great mind and he has learned from his over micromanaging. he is the right guy. He would bring what this team really needs.

Posted by: brothbart | June 15, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Padilla and Martin AAAA players. We already have had enough of that. They both have had 8 years or more in the minors and NOBODY wanted them. Why should we. We already have enough garbage players on this team. No more dumpster diving.
Posted by: natsguy | June 15, 2009"

My god you are like a broken, useless cracked and broken 78RPM platter. Yes a broken record.

Okay WHERE ARE THESE MLB READY PROSPECTS!!!?? WHERE!!? No one in the minors is ready dude! Patterson has been in the minors as long as Padilla!!!?? And he hasn't hit as well!!!? Why did they bring him up?

Pitchers: do you really think Detwiler is ready? Zimmerman? None of those guys (who are all almost fresh from the P-Nats) look ready. The guys who were supposed to be ready, Bergmann, Hinckley, etc. Where are they?

You want a .211 hitter in Maxwell? Start pulling guys from AA?

And if they pulled off a blockbuster trade using DUNN they would likely end up with promising prospects who still need seasoning!!!

THEY ARE A AAA franchise right now!?

Take the broken record off the platter and look at reality. Might as well try EVERYTHING possible while letting your "prospects" prosper in the minors first ... before being force fed into the major leagues!

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I absolutely agree re. the twisting in the wind aspect. If the rumors are true, it's the same thing they did to Frank. It showed a lack of class and humanity then, and it does so now.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

>>Buck has a great mind and he has learned from his over micromanaging. he is the right guy. He would bring what this team really needs.Posted by: brothbart

Besides he was great on Seinfeld.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Jim Riggleman's career record as a Manager isn't exactly stellar.
5 bad seasons,2 average seasons and 1 90 win season in 1998 when Sammy Sosa carried the Cubs with the best year of his career.
I am in favor of a Managerial change if Jim brings some passion to the job but I can also see giving Manny a chance in 2010 provided the Nats keep Dunn,trade Nick(maybe Young will be healthy enough to be called up?) and sign Strasburg. Storen will help the bullpen a bit in 2010 though he may not be in the majors until the middle of the season.

Posted by: jeremybozz | June 15, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Sec506,

Right, more sarcasm. But you know what? It's much more fun to be positive about the team you follow. Only problem is, you have to have something to be positive about.

Here's a case in point: on a Terps' site, we all love our Terps (me included). When the Terps get a commitment from an underrated prospect (like the 3 star out of 5 point guard they recently got a commitment from), we all say that the experts don't know what they are talking about. We got a steal!

But when the Nats don't sign a highly rated pitcher or when they draft a poorly rated player (relative to his draft slot), then many of us bemoan the choice as saving money. And this is especially true when the two players the Nats have signed so far in 2009 inked for UNDER slot!

Why the difference in perception of similar phenomena? Because the Terps obviously care about putting the best product they can out there. They are committed to winning. The Terps don't always win, but you know they are trying. For the Nats, the on-field product is a secondary consideration, after satisfying their financial"needs."

Posted by: EdDC | June 15, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

This is slightly off the "fire Acta/Don't fire Acta" topic (my thoughts on that below). I don't know about anyone else, but after seeing them play this past weekend (and more but especially this past weekend), the only thing my mind keeps thinking is that they should be taking today's off-day and playing some intra-squad games. Start the starters in the field and the bench players at bat. Pitchers that are not on the mound will be cycled in for at-bat practice (bunting, batting, pitch reading). Cycle through your fielders to give everyone time in the field. Coaches can take at bats if they want as well. Most importantly, get back back to the basics of fielding (and hitting the strike zone, for the pitchers).

As for Acta's job, I'm on the fence. If it is the difference between Acta and Riggelman, I'm not sure who I prefer. I do think that Acta can be too passive sometimes. I'm not asking for him to scream and yell all the time, but maybe come out and "ask" the umps why a call was made. It shows support for your players and shows the umps that you will "fight" for your players. While it was a verbal attack, Rick Eckstein got major points in a lot of fans' (and players?) books for his "You have no integrity!" outburst.

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | June 15, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Terminate with class, please. Don't have him go to NY then terminate: do it quick and do it right.

Posted by: joemktg2 | June 15, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"And who would you listen to if you were a major leaguer? Charlie Lau or Ted Williams, the last .400 hitter in baseball who hit for power even in the huge right field of Fenway."

Well, periculum, George Brett listened to Charlie Lau and ended up hitting .305 for his career with 11 .300 seasons, including one where he hit .390. Seemed to work out okay for him.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 15, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Periculum,

I'm not the broken record that keeps bringing up 4A players. If you don't know what a 4A player is you shouldn't be on this site. Have you ever bothered to read NFA. Try it sometime after you take the record off. ""JUST SAYIN""

Posted by: natsguy | June 15, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

What I don't understand is that the poll was over 50% to keep Manny, yet over 80% on these message boards believe he should go. Somebody tell Manny he's not allowed to vote more than once. Don't forget to try out 'Nats Weekly' every Monday at 4:30pm. Next week, Nats Blogger, Ed Chigliak will take your calls. Nats Weekly airs every Monday at 4:30pm, est at PrimeSportsNetwork.com.

Posted by: gdpsports | June 15, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Re Showalter, I find it very hard to get past the amazing coincidence of not one, but two franchises winning titles immediately AFTER he left the team.

I'll grant you that "respectability" would be looking pretty good right now for the Nats, so if that's as high as we aspire, he's our man.

Oh, and I'm not sure what the qualifications are for being a "true" fan, but 40 years of rooting for a team must count for something, eh?

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | June 15, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Dear Chico,

Please update Nats Journal. The suspense is killing me. When's the axta going to fall? At this point, I'm getting more Nats updates over at si.com. What's the deal?

Posted by: rucks35 | June 15, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Remember, it's not over 50% "keep Manny", it's over 50% "don't fire him now". I'm not in the "keep Manny" camp but I voted NO because I don't think the time is right (see other posts if you care for details why).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What I don't understand is that the poll was over 50% to keep Manny, yet over 80% on these message boards believe he should go.

Posted by: gdpsports | June 15, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 15, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

My prediction: Acta gets fired Friday Morning right before the Toronto series or Thursday night after we get swept by the Yankees.

Posted by: FloresFan | June 15, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"What I don't understand is that the poll was over 50% to keep Manny, yet over 80% on these message boards believe he should go."

You need to read the *whole* thread - there were lots of us who think Manny should go but think now's not the time ...

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 15, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

NO Manny should not be fired because ...

The team needs stability right now. Make Rizzo the permanent GM. Keep Acta. let's recover from all fo the instability Jim Bowden caused.

In addition, firing Acta and promoting Riggleman is not the answer. I prefer Acta over Riggleman. The players are going to think that the FO is crazy if they make Riggleman the manager for the rest of the year.

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | June 15, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

spunkydawg1

So why were you against Buck - He was a "true" yankee. He had a great baseball mind and he stood up for his players. remeber the A's were killing the yanks 14 wins in a row agains them. Larussa used to yell at Nokes while he was behind the plate. Buck told him to tell him if it happens again and Buck went out there and got in Larussa's face and Yanks didn't loose another game to the A's for awhile after that. He built the teams that won. They didn't win the WS because he wasn't there he built those teams to win. Torre is so overrated. he did very little those first few years. After he was good at messaging all those personalities, but it was Buck who made the yankees the winners they were in 1993-1998.

Posted by: brothbart | June 15, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

@ FloresFan: I think you're right. They're going to lose regardless, may as well make that Manny's going away present, then open the homestand with a new chief.

@rb-freedom-for-all: "The players are going to think that the FO is crazy if they make Riggleman the manager for the rest of the year." No, if the Nats keep Act, the players will think the FO is so disconnected they don't notice the team cruising to the alltime worst record in baseball history.

Posted by: mvm2 | June 15, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

As time goes on, the Lerners are the folks who show less and less class and responsibility. It is time for them to make a public announcement. To remain mute is to continue their arrogant ignorance!

And, just to be sure, am earlier post blamed the DC government for selecting the ownership team. They had zero input. Care to make a comment BUD???

Posted by: navboss | June 15, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

New post, but no news.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not the broken record that keeps bringing up 4A players. If you don't know what a 4A player is you shouldn't be on this site. Have you ever bothered to read NFA. Try it sometime after you take the record off. ""JUST SAYIN""

"Posted by: natsguy | June 15, 2009"

You still haven't answered the question yet. Where are these prospects you so desperately want to see? Eh? Hiding under your couch?

They don't exist. You use what you've got when you are in the Nats situation. They are AAA not even AAAA right now.

As I recall Mora was a AAAA player by your definition. And he had done a lot for the Orioles the past few years ... hasn't he?

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"Have you ever bothered to read NFA. Try it sometime after you take the record off."

Natsguy, try commonsense, a reality check. Might help you come in out of the rain before you catch the Swine flu.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Wow.. what a shocker. Priculum is arguing with someone in derisive and insulting terms. Poor guy. Always getting picked on.

Posted by: outsider6 | June 15, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Dear Natsguy,

Matt Chico is an example of one of your "prospects" we are waiting for? He is coming off Tommy John's just like JD Martin. How's he doing eh? How was he in the majors ....

NFA!? Watch the games maybe you'll learn something.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"Wow.. what a shocker. Priculum is arguing with someone in derisive and insulting terms. Poor guy. Always getting picked on."

"Posted by: outsider6 | June 15, 2009"

Not hardly, but then you never learned to read or write English ... clearly so you get a waiver.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

HOw are people sticking up for Manny... it is June 15 and we have 16 count em 16 WINS!!!! Again our winning % is 26. 26%.. stop making excuses for Manny, the right time would of been at the beggining of this year. He will NEVER be a good manager. His best shot will be on a verteran club but even then i hae doubts. Get this cancer out of DC and tell the FO to stop moving at a pace the Federal Government does to make changes. This would not fly in NY LA SF CHI BOS STL and it should not fly in DC. Again what are we waiting for Stan? Our winning % to hit 20? 30? Wake up!!!!

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | June 15, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Brothbart, it's been like 15 years since Showalter left, so I can't remember exactly WHY I wanted him to go... I just remember for sure that I wanted him to go! I didn't even think Torre was the right guy to take over, but that worked out pretty well.

One thing I do remember from Showalter's tenure was his maddening over-dependence on old guys, when we had better young guys totally ready to take over. My snapping point was when he left David Cone in waaay too long in some game (probably a playoff game), Cone's arm looked about ready to actually fall off. We Y's fans loved warrior Cone, no doubt about it, but he HAD to come out of that game earlier, and Showalter just couldn't do it. After it was too late, Cone was removed and replaced by a young up-and-comer named Mariano Rivera, who just blew the next few guys away. It seemed like Showalter helped develop our great young players, but then couldn't bring himself trust them enough to use them when it counted. Torre used them, and the rest is history. I don't believe those titles would have happened with Showalter still at the helm.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | June 15, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I heard one the the Nats own announcers say during a recent Phillies seriesthat the Phillies were on the field earlier that day taking infield practice and shagging flyballs BEFORE taking BP. He said the Nats came out took BP and went back to the clubhouse. He said he was in the Nats clubhouse while the Phillies were taking infield practice and the guys were watching TV and relaxing. Perhaps they should have gone out and taken some infield when the Phillies wrapped up. Their defense is pathetic. That falls squarely on the shoulders of the manager. I've seen the managers much older than Manny out on the field leading infield practice, not just watching. Swinging the bat well is a great thing, but the Phillies didn't win the whole thing last year at the plate. They played solid defense and got good pitching from their starters and bullpen.

The misspelled uniforms, fining a player for being late from a visit with Little Leaguers, atrocious pitching and horrid defense have made the Nats a punchline to a joke!!! If you want to see some baseball played, take a trip out to Frederick and see the Keys play. You'll save money and if the players commit an error, it won't be because of a lack of effort!

Posted by: ChaoticCracker | June 15, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Acta seems like he knows what he's doing, and he is well liked by the team, so I'd really like to give him more of a chance. However, the team's record is worse than anyone could have imagined, and it's not just bad luck. All the evidence points to Acta's extreme ineffectiveness in terms of motivating the players. His laid-back style is just not suited for getting out of the team's current predicament. The "hand he was dealt" is not really that bad; the Nats have some very good hitters, and even the young starting pitchers are decent. They just don't play well as a team, but rather keep wasting run-scoring opportunities. Unless he changes his attitude and his players' attitudes immediately, which is unlikely, there is no point in postponing the inevitable. Fans in Washington deserve better, and since you can't fire the team, I'm afraid Manny will have to take the fall.

Posted by: AClem | June 15, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

and that NEW POST you've been dreaming of is here...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

You don't fire the manager when one of the players is on bereavement leave. Sorry, you just don't.

Posted by: P522 | June 15, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

You don't fire the manager when one of the players is on bereavement leave. Sorry, you just don't.

Posted by: P522 | June 15, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The timing is atrocious, P522, I agree.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 15, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

spunkydawg1

Yeah, that was the final game of the playoff series against Seattle it was do or die. The problem was that we really didn't have anyone and needed Cone to pitch. Rivera came in and then McDowell had to come in and he gave up the deciding runs. This was Rivera's rookie year. He pitched okay in that game facing 4 batters giving up a hit, walk, striking out 1 and getting the other guy. No one new he was going to be the greatest closer in the game. I don't remember him favoring the old guys. Some questioned leaving Cone in their, but I learned never to question Buck.

What other manager would walk Bonds with the bases loaded up by 2 with 2 outs. Not too many, but he didn't want Bonds to beat him so he walked in a run and the next guy was retired and they win the game.

Buck is the man!

Posted by: brothbart | June 15, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I was for firing Manny Acta but I changed my mind. Let's keep him and see what happens. Maybe things will turn around for him and the Nats.

Posted by: politicalmajority | June 15, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

It's not going to be Riggleman. Otherwise, they'd have made the move. They're waiting to get out of new york to make the announcement. I think it will be Davey Johnson. It would be a media circus if they hired him while in NY.

Posted by: NatsFan2005 | June 15, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

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