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Recap Of A Day Where Nothing Happened

These days for Manny Acta, the job extensions come day-by-day. This latest extension means Acta will get another day to manage, another series, and another chance. The Nationals today retained their manager and said nothing publicly about his job security, an indication that the organization is still uncertain of if, and when, to make a move.

So long as the Lerner ownership group and team president Stan Kasten deliberate, Acta will continue through his third and most difficult season with the Nationals on a series-to-series basis. Over the weekend, a national media report suggested that Acta would lose his job within days. Though Acta has now outlasted the first date for his predicted demise, his job is not secure, just undecided, according to several sources. If nothing else, though, he figures to get three games against the second-place New York Yankees to help his cause. Assuming a CC Sabathia-Shairon Martis pitching match-up can somehow help.

Acta's tenuous status -- and the team's willingness to let it continue -- bothers some in the organization, who feel that Acta deserves a more dignified treatment. Said one employee: "It's just disrespectful to leave him twisting in the wind."

Of course, firing Acta today would have had its own repercussions. Following Washington's loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday afternoon, the team's third in a row and 24th in 29 games, Acta boarded the team plane en route to New York City. Replacing Acta at that point -- after he'd just departed his home state -- would have replicated, at least loosely, last year's firing of Willie Randolph, who was managing the New York Mets.

The Mets fought a PR backlash because of the move, which was conducted only one game after the team -- and Randolph -- had flown out to Los Angeles for a series against the Angels.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 15, 2009; 8:15 PM ET
 
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Comments

> "It's just disrespectful to leave him twisting in the wind."

16

and

45

screw him

Posted by: Brue | June 15, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I had hoped this twisting in the wind stuff (and firing in the press stuff) would go away once Bowden did. I guess I'm confused about how things get done in an MLB front office.

I guess they are, too.

Record, manager, and players put aside for the moment, I really wish this organization could present itself with some dignity that I could get behind as a fan.

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 15, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I’m not sure if it’s entirely appropriate to say all this — letting loose is always kind of dangerous — but I just wanted to mention a few things here. Maybe this is both an apology and a confession. But here goes.

Cataloguing this unpleasant waiting game is no fun; it’s the one part of my job that makes me uncomfortable, because a lot of the questioning/reporting that goes into it counters the rules of human decency. I hope it never comes off that I’m somehow making bloodsport of Manny Acta’s job status, or relishing the spectacle. I eagerly anticipate the day when the stories involve other topics — big picture reports on the organization, Strasburg stories, maybe even a few gamers about wins. Sorry the coverage has been so single-minded of late. Just know that I’m waiting, like you, to move on.

Posted by: Chico Harlan | June 15, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Nothing happened? Something happened, the Nats signed Joakim Soria to a minor league deal. Help is on the way. I hope this does not jeopardize the Nats chances at Bryce Harper.

Posted by: jfromPG | June 15, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

My bad...in my excitement I confused Joakim Soria with Horacio Ramirez....guess I was hoping for someone besides another retread. Sigh.

Posted by: jfromPG | June 15, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Haven't we seen enough to know the true character of this organization? They leak, rather than man up and tell you to your face. They're indecisive. And they're famously cheap. (Remember how they wanted Frank Robinson to be a spring training instructor, after they fired him? But they offered no pay?) They have no sense of good PR.

This is not ever going to lead to a championship team. As someone else said, good players cost more and bad teams don't pay. That's the Nats in a nutshell.

Posted by: gbooksdc | June 15, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

LernerStans have no class.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 15, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I almost thought I saw Horacio Pena and Camilio Pascual ...

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I think many of us as well feel uncomfortable with the waiting for when will this "this shoe finally drop". At this point it looks like Manny is going to be the Manager for at least one more series, this 3-gamer against the Yankees. And it appears to almost be a certainty at this point, that if the Nats are sweep by the Yanks Manny will get fired. But what happens if by miracle-of-miracles the Nats sweep the Yankees? What if they take 2 out of 3 from the Bronx Bombers? Does Manny get a reprieve - another series (against the Red Sox)? What then?

Posted by: bigmook | June 15, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I think its pretty much been decided herein that no matter what they do it won't matter much. That the entire organization from top-to-bottom needs a management overhaul. Starting with a real GM/president. Kind of like the Redsox for example.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I think there's one thing that everybody agrees on - I/you/we want to see this team perform better (in terms of W-L) at the ML level. Here's one version of how to get there.

1) Let the current staff know that team performance = jobs for 2010; no more shakeups.
2) Name Mike Rizzo permanent GM.
3) Try to trade NJohnson for either a CF prospect (AAA or AA), or a AAA closer; Move Dunn to 1B, install Willingham in LF & take our lumps.
4) Consider AGonz in CF for remainder of season; Good range overall, decent speed, but can't turn a DP.
5) Commit to a Harris/Hernandez platoon at 2B for remainder of the season.
6) Cut/DFA Colome, recall Clippard as a MR.
7) Activate Olsen as an SP, move Stammen to LR/MR duties & DFA either Patersson or Kearns.
8) Drop Montz from 40-man roster, add Padilla (replacing NJohnson) to 25-man.
--------------------------------

If you want the Letterman Top-10-list version, add these to my previous post:

9) DFA either Kearns/Patterson (whoever is left from move #7) & select Langerhans as a 1B-OF late-inning sub.
10) DFA Belliard & call up Desmond to support Guzman at SS.

Posted by: BinM | June 15, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BinM | June 15, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs to make some kind of a change that will shake things up. Because to continue on the way it has been going is too destructive - to the players, fans, etc. I believe that losing has gotten into the players heads to the point now where they expect to have some thing happen that will blow the game for them.

Posted by: bigmook | June 15, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chico. Nice post - I mean that. It's nice to have a little insight into the man behind the words.

As for Horacio Ramirez - keep in mind that the Nats need organizational depth - not every signing is meant to right the ship. They've recalled Stammen and Detwiler since the season began - someone needs to make starts at AAA.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 15, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Manny Acta will keep his managerial job for the time-being, according to SI.com.

Posted by: gbooksdc | June 15, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

And as for you, Chico -- after that piece about your late granddad, you get a lifetime pass from me. That was some fine writing. John Ed Bradley was never better.

Posted by: gbooksdc | June 15, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Who's going to take this job? Lerner will only hire someone willing to work for less than his peers, the Nats will never have a payroll in line with Atlanta, Philly, or NY, and Kasten is on his way to firing another manager through the media. Keep Acta or fire him, this team will be a loser as long as the old man is calling the shots.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | June 15, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Just read Loverro's Wash.Times article on Dibble not very flattering to say the least, i have a lot more respect for Loverro's reporting than Dibble trying to defend himself with as long as Masn doesn't have a problem excuse. I said it before on this blog Randy St. Claire was the fall guy for Manny's ineptitude and i'm sure St.Claire will land on his feet and find success. Rizzo and Kasten should know better especially Rizzo, a supposed baseball man and Dibble throwing St.Claire under the bus and having had not one conversation with the now fired coach smacks of arrogance on Dibbles part,its bad enough the season is a disaster so far, now we find Carpy's sidekick is faking it.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 15, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Based on my assumed moves, the Nationals would be left with the following 25/40-man roster:
CA [2/3] = Bard, Nieves; Flores (DL).
1B [2/3] = Dunn, Langerhans; DYoung (DL).
2B [2] = Harris, Hernandez.
3B [1] = RZimmerman.
SS [2] = Guzman, Desmond.
LF [1/2] = Willingham; Milledge (AAA-DL).
CF [1/3] = AGonzalez; Bernadina (DL), Maxwell (AAA).
RF [2] = Dukes, Padilla.
Regular players = 11 (25-man); 18 (40-man).

SP [5/9] = Lannan, JZimmermann, Olsen, Detwiler, Martis; Balester, Estrada, Mock (AAA); Atilano (AA).
RP [7/9] = Wells, Clippard, Hanrahan, Beimel, Villone, Taverez, MacDougal; Bergmann, SRivera.
Pitchers = 12 (25-man); 18 (40-man).

Posted by: BinM | June 15, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

"10) DFA Belliard & call up Desmond to support Guzman at SS.

Posted by: BinM | June 15, 2009"

Desmond is in AA. Just returning from an injury. He has yet to play all that much. He needs innings. Not sit on a bench.

I would add: Return Hanrahan to Syracuse and let him start as they are now doing with Garrett Mock. Send Detwiler or Stammen back down. Bring Olsen back. Bring up JD Martin who was born in 1983 and is younger than Ledezma, Kensing, Rivera and Sosa. He has improved every single year (when injury free), why not? HAS TO BE better than Beimel.

Langerhans advantage is that he is a left-handed hitter. Plays first and the outfield.

Trade Guzman AND Nick Johnson for a ***real*** centerfielder (perhaps long with an exchange of some of those "prospects" ... they have so many needs).

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

They can't even do nothing in a timely fashion.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry you're suffering Chico, but I'm glad you're uncomfortable in the sense that I'd rather read the writing of a reporter who is thoughtful about how the story affects the subject. I think a lot of us share your discomfort with the whole situation.

Posted by: dcbatgirl | June 15, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Its down to 2 choices:

1. Go back to the algorithm that says try to get them as respectable as possible to draw fans and please the owners (used to be to attract an owner) while waiting for prospects. Could tend to retard the progress of prospects. But the prospects do not appear to be ready yet?

2. Promote prospects along with a good minor league manager and staff and turn this year into a prospect seasoning and evaluation season. Have to take into account the potential for a record number of losses and the effect it would have on the team.

Posted by: periculum | June 15, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Keep Manny Keep Manny!! We need more losses.
Repeat after me: Bryce Harper Bryce Harper Bryce Harper.........

Posted by: dovelevine | June 15, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

BinM
You've written a really constructive post that's trying to find some solutions. At a certain level we've got what we've got. Manny or not Manny is not the problem. Fully developing the prospects and aggressively getting prospects and productively spending cash is. I lean towards firing Manny right now but I don't care but so much provided they handle it professionally, which they seem to be incapable of.

I don't know what to do with AGonz. He's hitting well enough to a deserve regular time. Ultimately, you'd like to see us move Guzman and give Gonzalez a chance to keep the job before our prospects like Desmond and Espinoza are ready in 2011. I have no idea what it will take them to commit to Clippard and abandon Colome. Plus we're calling up Kip Wells again. At this point, we should know that Wells and Colome are not major league players on a good team. We don't know about Clippard. He should get a shot. He had another perfect inning at Syracuse saving a Collin Ballester win.

Whatever we do, we need to translate Nick Johnson + Guzman + any pitchers we don't want to give a shot to [Clippard/Balester/Stammen/Milledge remember him?] into a position player prospect or two because we're in the market for an everyday centerfielder if we're out of the Milledge business.
________________________
I think there's one thing that everybody agrees on - I/you/we want to see this team perform better (in terms of W-L) at the ML level. Here's one version of how to get there.

1) Let the current staff know that team performance = jobs for 2010; no more shakeups.
2) Name Mike Rizzo permanent GM.
3) Try to trade NJohnson for either a CF prospect (AAA or AA), or a AAA closer; Move Dunn to 1B, install Willingham in LF & take our lumps.
4) Consider AGonz in CF for remainder of season; Good range overall, decent speed, but can't turn a DP.
5) Commit to a Harris/Hernandez platoon at 2B for remainder of the season.
6) Cut/DFA Colome, recall Clippard as a MR.
7) Activate Olsen as an SP, move Stammen to LR/MR duties & DFA either Patersson or Kearns.
8) Drop Montz from 40-man roster, add Padilla (replacing NJohnson) to 25-man.
--------------------------------

If you want the Letterman Top-10-list version, add these to my previous post:

9) DFA either Kearns/Patterson (whoever is left from move #7) & select Langerhans as a 1B-OF late-inning sub.
10) DFA Belliard & call up Desmond to support Guzman at SS.
____________________

Posted by: souldrummer | June 15, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

@periculum: I realise that Desmond is at HAR and coming back from an injury - hence he's my #10 move; give him until the trade deadline to prove his worth in the mid-minors, then call him up, if he still looks good.
Regarding Hanrahan: He is out of options, IIRC; That's why I didn't include him in my top-10.

Posted by: BinM | June 15, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Said one employee: "It's just disrespectful to leave him twisting in the wind."

Yes, it is. But the alternative is firing him, and getting fired is seldom better than not getting fired. (I know, I've done both.)

I assume they haven't told him something like "Umm, Manny, when we get back to DC, we have something we need to tell you..."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

@sould: Good feedback - thanks.
The AGonz in CF thought was along the lines of Soriano to LF in 2006 - a little outside the box, but could benefit the big club (& the player) in the long run, if Rizzo/Acta would let it happen.

I don't think the Nationals will let go of Guzman until the trade deadline (at the earliest) or the off-season, unless they see "an offer they can't refuse" for him. They can't bundle him with NJohnson, as both of them are best-suited for DH roles in the AL, imo.

Posted by: BinM | June 15, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

but wouldn't "Recap Of A Day Where Nothing Happened" make a good movie title?

I'm thinking, Once Upon A Time in Mexico, as done by Kevin Smith.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your humane post, Chico. I suppose it's possible that the leaking was done by someone who was aware of the FO's deliberations, rather than by one of the people actually responsible for the decision. I hate to think that Rizzo or Kasten would be so rotten as to leak the news. I totally agree that Manny shdn't be left in this limbo.

Posted by: Section109 | June 15, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I would submit that at this time it is more about being fare to the replacement than it is about being fare to Acta. It's a hard job, but Acta is doing the final and perhaps most difficult part of his job: preparing for replacement. Is it really that much more undignified or punishing to hold on for a few more days. The Blue Jays at home are a much better team for a new manager to debut against than the Yankees away. So if that's the way it goes down then its understandable. The problem is that now the buzzards are circling. Whoever leaked the story to Rosenthal (cough Bowden, cough cough) has made it all that much more difficult on Acta, Kasten, and the Replacement.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 15, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

> The Mets fought a PR backlash because of the move

The Nats. Bad PR. Hahahahaha. Good one, Chico! That's rich. Ah hahahahahaha.

I guess at this point they figure they're going to be swept by the Yankees regardless of who's managing. It may as well be Acta, to cut down on the double guessing. Then they'll show up back at home with a new manager for the slightly more winnable series against Toronto.

Posted by: mvm2 | June 15, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Or as Bobby "Blue" Bland once sang, "If you're gonna walk on my love/The least you could do is take off your shoes..."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it comes down to somebody in the FO showing some "stones" for a change. Either fish with Acta at Mgr. for the rest of the season, or cut bait with Riggleman as an interim solution. Either way, drafted players need to be signed, the team still needs a Manager & GM for the 2010 season; Players will be lost to FA / RuleV in the off-season, the 40-man roster / minors will still need to be re-stocked, etc.

The bottom line is that the Lerners' are still learning; the sad thing is that they're killing the fan base with their indifference / lack of decision.

Posted by: BinM | June 15, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

but wouldn't "Recap Of A Day Where Nothing Happened" make a good movie title?

I'm thinking, Once Upon A Time in Mexico, as done by Kevin Smith.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse
------------------------

Wasn't that "Clerks"?

Posted by: BinM | June 15, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

@BinM
Padilla seems like the kind of guy that we need to see play because he's kind of a mystery to me. Statswise he looks good to all of us. There has to be something about him that scares teams off. It seems hard for me to believe that he hasn't even merited a September callup or an injury subsitution of some kind when he's been a .290+ hitter in the minors since 2005 and has been strong at AAA this year.

I don't know about how to divvy up the at bats between AGonz/Anderson Hernandez/Belliard. I do know that I would like to see Belliard out of the lineup. He's not a part of our future and he's not contributing toward our present. I guess they want him to play him way into a tradable asset status but similar to Kearns that seems a no-go.

When we think of the outfield debacle, I think we forget just how much this team was banking on Milledge coming into this year.

Also, for those of us [myself included] who think of the Nationals as cheap, the Bonafacio plus low prospects for Willingham plus Olsen was a deal where we took on salary. It's tragic that Willingham's bereavement comes at a time when it appears he had won the everyday right field job. There's more to this than baseball and I hope he's doing well. Handling Willingham's situation is the type of thing where I feel Manny's coolness helps and that's one of the reason why I wanted to see Manny get at least two-three more weeks to try to get the team on a .500 plus period before he gets the axe.

Posted by: souldrummer | June 15, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

The Nats screw everything else up - why wouldn't they do the same with this firing?

The Nats can best be described in two letters: CF.

Posted by: SavedByZero | June 15, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't Riggleman = fishing, and keeping Acta = cutting bait? Just sayin.
*******************************
Either fish with Acta at Mgr. for the rest of the season, or cut bait with Riggleman as an interim solution.
Posted by: BinM | June 15, 2009 10:20 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Clerks was a lot less violent, and lacked Salma Hayak--a major drawback for any movie.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

It's not going to be Riggleman--they'd have made the move sooner. For some reason, 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 10:43 PM | Report abuse

As for the bobblehead/gym bag--isn't that Fathers Day? I thought neckties were the traditional gift...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Davey Johnson? Not Rogers Hornsby?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for opening up as you did, Chico. There are times when it's not easy to commit journalism and this is one of them. What's important -- and proven by the fact that you're troubled by it -- is that you still have your humanity. In the opinion of this journalist, you have a responsibility to your readers to get the story but when it doesn't bother you to be the nosy neighbor in the middle of someone's agony, which is what you have to be sometimes, that's when it's time to quit this gig and start selling shoes.

Posted by: greggwiggins | June 15, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

maybe "Dusk til Dawn" remade with Jack Black...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Serpico remade with Dane Cook.

Posted by: Section506 | June 15, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Who wants Manny's job? Nobody!!!! Screwed up FO, indecisive or incompetent/not experienced ownership, Kasten??? don't trust him anymore. Decisions need to be made - but the jerks in the FO and ownership are unwilling to send a clear message to fans, players, coaches - see draft re signability!

Posted by: johnbear1 | June 15, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I guess what gets me...is that this story was created by the media, driven by the media, and perpetuated by the media. Over and over and over and over the same questions get asked. This situation would not BE a situation if it were not contrived by Rosenthal. No sources were named, we just ASSUME because he published it that there must be something to the story.

I am sick to death of reporters being allowed by their editors to publish based on unnamed sources. If you open your mouth, you should take responsibility for what you say - not hide behind the cloak of some 'unnamed source'. No proof is required, no validation is needed.

I think this is very, very sad. Sad for the team, sad for the journalists who feel compelled to spout this garbage, and sad for Manny Acta, who is doing the best he can. Maybe if more people got behind this team instead of their own selfish motivations...just so they can spout their opinions and call 'Off With His Head!', this team might get righted.

Look at what's happening in the farm systems. The pipeline is filling. The fans wanted offense, we got it - at the expense of defense. Be careful what you iwsh for. You may get it.

Posted by: dand187 | June 15, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I was reading the posts from Feinstein's article and came across a post from "Jqdonahue". This is part of his post and I totally agree with him!

"You could start by asking why this team does not want to embrace the past Washington franchises. Why is Frank Howard not a coach on this team (hey, just give Hondo a bat – could he be worse than Kearns?), or why is the stadium not called Walter Johnson Park (by Marriott perhaps?)?? Where is Ken McMullen night, or Dick Bosman Apprecation night? Or even Harmon Killebrew night? Where is the link for the old time Washington fan base? Aren’t they still alive and wanting to contribute to this team’s success? Is the marketing department made up of people who don’t even know who Del Unser was, or Mike Epstein? The answer is that this team’s ownership does not understand or care about its fans to the extent that actually means something called “commitment.” How are you expecting fans to come into a rainy stadium when the team makes as many errors as games played? Giving a professional team additional “outs” never works, as Nick Johnson found out the other day."

Posted by: NickfromGermantown | June 16, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

The Fox Final Say/Word/Report/Whatever just said the Nats are considering Bobby Valentine as a potential manager.

Posted by: Juan-John | June 16, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

This is maybe off topic, and I apologize if it is: I was a Senators fan in my youth (Knothole Club). As a boy of 8 in 1957 I lived and breathed and played baseball. I read everything I could about the Senators, from the Washington Star to the Washington Daily News to the back of baseball cards. I too wonder why the Senator's history is never mentioned or celebrated. I understand that the Twins have claimed rights to Washington's Senator history. WHY? They abandoned the city in 1961. Why do the Twins have the right to WASHINGTON'S history. The games were played at 7th and Florida in Griffith Stadium. Very near the Bond Bread Bakery. I can still smell the baking bread as my Dad, Grandfather and me neared the stadium on the streetcar. Later, as a teen, I saw the All Star Games in 1962 and in (I can't remember the exact year) (1969, maybe?). I remember this because the game was rained out by a downpour that flooded the dugouts. All of the Nats (that's what we called them) history belongs to the city and the fans of the Senators. That's the way it is and the way it always should be!

Posted by: NickfromGermantown | June 16, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

nick: DC is a transient town, 7 percent of the people who live here now know who those people are. its just a reality of the area

bobby v come back from japan and save us...and bring your fake glasses and mustache!!

Posted by: formerlylove1 | June 16, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Formerlylove1: While I appreciate your logic, what percentage of people in Minn. know anything about the old Nats?

Posted by: NickfromGermantown | June 16, 2009 2:43 AM | Report abuse

Cataldo's material from the previous post was just too good to resist...

"NATS: The Story Of The Greatest Comeback In The History Of Mankind"

In June of ought-nine while the weather was fine
In NatsTown big trouble was brewing.
The fans did lament the Nat's winning percent-
Age and cried "They don't know what they're doing!
Those Lerners and Stan - they don't have a plan,
they're just Gawd-awful nickel-and-dimers!"
But one fateful night the Nats fortunes took flight
when they called one man up from the minors.

Stan fired Riggle, and replaced him with Dibble,
On the flight to New York fired Acta.
And taking a hint from NJ, fired Clint
Just to complete the trifecta.
One last call was made, and in secret was laid
The groundwork for Nationals glory.
(A genius recluse boards a plane from the 'Cuse
And steps to the front in this story.)

...

[continued at http://tinyurl.com/lml7bx]

Posted by: nationalsanthems | June 16, 2009 2:57 AM | Report abuse

Yes, but this team is the one that Acta called his best in his three seasons. It was Acta who put Milledge in center field and leadoff(and supported trading for him); Acta who declared Hanrahan his closer (multiple times). It is Acta who constantly plays the sixth inning as if it was the ninth (if he is going to stay, someone needs to let him know that basic math says you still have 12 of your 27 outs left when you start the sixth - that's 44% for the mathematically challenged); Acta who has at least four or five times been so asleep at the wheel that he has pinch run after a hitter has established a count; Acta, whose team can't even get lined up for a relay correctly; Acta who didn't get his team ready for the season in any of the three he has been here. Bottom line, it is Acta who is responsible for getting the most out of the players he manages. At this pace, the team is close to some of the worst records in baseball history and getting worse not better.

Posted by: truke | June 16, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse

dand187 wrote: "No sources were named, we just ASSUME because he published it that there must be something to the story."

We don't know who told him because no sources were named in Rosenthal's published copy, but that doesn't mean his editor doesn't know who gave him the information and took that into consideration.

He may have the goods this time but I believe that Rosenthal has been 'sandbagged' by sources before. And it's not hard to predict that a team doing as badly as this year's Nats would be thinking about a managerial change.

I just hope it's not Valentine. I don't think he'd be a good match for this team or this organization.

Posted by: greggwiggins | June 16, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Nats so bad can't even fire manager right. Go Nat! The beer always wins.

Posted by: Champions | June 16, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

I agree with nickfromgermantown's sentiments about embracing the long history of baseball in Washington. MASN could stop shooting itself in the foot by looking at Washington baseball records, not Montreal records as the basis for comparing current players and their stats. Of course that would require some actual digging. Bring in some ex Senator's into the booth. I have become completely bored by the history of the Cinncinnati Reds as remembered by Dibble--it is irrelevant. The other MASN broadcasts at least have former Orioles as their broadcasters and references are made to Orioles of the last forty years.

Their are hundreds of stories of the past Washington players that should be mined by the media. This century old history of baseball in Washington can become the roots that the current sapling can graft onto. Even the long history of losing teams in Senator's uniforms can be related to in a beneficial way. The current ownership should take stock of what a gift that it has in this city and its tradition of baseball. Baseball should be viewed in the longer term--much longer than the short history of the Montreal Expos.

Posted by: driley | June 16, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

"Yes, but this team is the one that Acta called his best in his three seasons. It was Acta who put Milledge in center field and leadoff(and supported trading for him); Acta who declared Hanrahan his closer (multiple times). It is Acta who constantly plays the sixth inning as if it was the ninth (if he is going to stay, someone needs to let him know that basic math says you still have 12 of your 27 outs left when you start the sixth - that's 44% for the mathematically challenged); Acta who has at least four or five times been so asleep at the wheel that he has pinch run after a hitter has established a count; Acta, whose team can't even get lined up for a relay correctly; Acta who didn't get his team ready for the season in any of the three he has been here."

Not to mention his most offensive and egregious error - inexplicably naming Kearns the starter in RF out of ST. That should tell you all you need this man's intelligence.

Posted by: RickFelt | June 16, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Chico.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 16, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

This is what we all waited 33 years for, the most dysfunctional group to ever own and run a major league franchise. People STOP giving your hard earned money to these jokers. The LernerStanK doesn't care what you, the WAPO or what the rest of MLB say, they just want your MONEY.

Does it really matter anymore;
-they don't even have the common decency to let Acta go, so they leave him twisitng in the wind and the butt of the next Letterman joke.
-they don't even have the common decency to decide on the fate of Mike Rizzo, so they leave him twisting in the wind and a personal butt-boy for StanK.
-they don't have the common decency to apologize to whats left of the fan base, "hey we are as disppointed as you are, but we are going to do something about this today".

Instead they hide and let people like Ken Rosenthal, John Hyman, the Red Sox/Yankees loving talking heads garbage gang on ESPN and even what little coverage they get here locally bloviate and speculate.

Enough already, this franchise is in ruins LernerStank and its your job to fix it.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 16, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Amen, driley. Every time MASN or the Nats' website uses "Expos/Nationals" is one more time they demonstrate their utter failure to understand their audience. This team needs to be part of DC, not a legacy from Montreal. Everyone understands that this franchise was in Montreal previously, but there are several others that started somewhere else and you don't hear them called the Senators/Twins, Browns/Orioles, Senators/Rangers or the Pilots/Brewers. The names of Frank Howard, Walter Johnson, Goose Gossage, Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Vernon and many others mean something here. Not Le Grande Orange, Andre Dawson or Steve Rogers.

And amen to RickFelt as well. I don't know if it is just that he looks good in the uni or if he has compromising photos of Nats management, but the man-love for Austin Kearns defies rational understanding.

Posted by: truke | June 16, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Yes, but this team is the one that Acta called his best in his three seasons. It was Acta who put Milledge in center field and leadoff(and supported trading for him); Acta who declared Hanrahan his closer (multiple times). It is Acta who constantly plays the sixth inning as if it was the ninth (if he is going to stay, someone needs to let him know that basic math says you still have 12 of your 27 outs left when you start the sixth - that's 44% for the mathematically challenged); Acta who has at least four or five times been so asleep at the wheel that he has pinch run after a hitter has established a count; Acta, whose team can't even get lined up for a relay correctly; Acta who didn't get his team ready for the season in any of the three he has been here."

Not to mention his most offensive and egregious error - inexplicably naming Kearns the starter in RF out of ST. That should tell you all you need this man's intelligence.

---------

Acta did Kearns no favors either. Kearns was looking like he was coming out his slump in spring training, and, instead of just leaving him in right field, Manny kept pulling him (and Willingham) in and out of the lineup, and Kearns regressed back to where he was. He's totally mismanaged the outfield situation from day one of spring training, relying on Milledge as a starting CF and not making a call and sticking to it with Kearns, Willingham, and Dunn.

Milledge is Manny's defining moment. The guy was late perpetually, and couldn't even field a routine fly ball -- still he was the starting CF on opening day, and when Rizzo forced Milledge's demotion, Manny called Milledge to apologize. Favortism? You be the judge. I wonder if he called Bergmann (permanent resident in the Acta Doghouse) to apologize for sending him down after one bad outing.

Posted by: raymitten | June 16, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Chico, thanks for understanding that Manny is, in the end, a human being.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 16, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Beautiful Nats Anthem

Posted by: Section506 | June 16, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

"Acta who declared Hanrahan his closer (multiple times)"

A lot of posters here did the same. He should get a pass on this one, since last year Hanrahan really did look like the closer of the future. I say this as one who always dissented from that opinion, too. I recognize that it was one that could be strongly argued by reasonable people.

Posted by: Section506 | June 16, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Chico for the comments. Unfortunately, admitting to a shred of human decency is probably a poor career move for a reporter.

Any insight re: Gammons's comments about the FO changing the culture? Is something actually happening or just the usual repeating of rumors?

Geezer

Posted by: utec | June 16, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Truke, the name of Harmon Killebrew means something here in Minnesota, too. His image hangs on a banner above right field, and his name graces a street outside Mall of America (the site of the old Metropolitan Stadium), and his jersey was the first to be retired by the Twins. To Minnesotans, Killer's a Twin.

Not a lot of Twins fans remember or understand the DC connection, but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

DC needs to remember the Expos. They are kindred spirits. Washington remembers what it feels like to have a team taken away from them, just as the Expos were taken away from Montreal fans.

In 1994, the team's only chance at hope was dashed by the strike. They were the best team in baseball at the time. The subsequent gutting of the franchise - a dismemberment that still affects the Nationals today - occurred the next season.

They played half of their "home" games in Puerto Rico in 2003. Despite having over 120 road games that year, they were in a five-way tie for the wild card on August 28th. But Selig wouldn't allow the team its September call-ups, citing budget concerns. They finished eight games out of the wild card.

The Nats are the team that put a pitcher on the DL because of an injured butt.

I don't see why we can't use the same stats when we're already using the same luck.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 16, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Anybody think that St.Claire will come out swinging(verbally that is) concerning Dibbles on air comments about the pitching staff in light of Tom Lovvero's(Wash.Times) column and the fact that Dibble never once talked to Randy about anything where the Nats pitchers were concerned.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 16, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Morning reading post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 16, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"Anybody think that St.Claire will come out swinging(verbally that is) concerning Dibbles on air comments about the pitching staff in light of Tom Lovvero's(Wash.Times) column and the fact that Dibble never once talked to Randy about anything where the Nats pitchers were concerned."

No. From all appearances St. Claire is a classy guy. Unlike, say, Loverro.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 16, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Here come the classy police who are all experts on how to fire a manager.

Posted by: JDB1 | June 16, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

How come there is no word on Rizzo or what the plans are to select a new GM?

It seems like Rizzo should have been made GM by now.

Or is it cheaper to keep him as acting GM until after the season?

Posted by: Pensfans | June 16, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

My downfall with Acta came before the season started and he named LM the starting CF and leadoff batter.

Both decisions were disastrous.

Acta appears to be a nice guy but we know where those types wind up. Can you say Norv Turner?

Posted by: fearturtle44 | June 16, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

OK, I'll bite. How was that "your downfall"? It drove you to drink?

********************
My downfall with Acta came before the season started and he named LM the starting CF and leadoff batter.
Posted by: fearturtle44 | June 16, 2009 10:33 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 16, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

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