Tuesday, October 05, 2010

'Tis the Season

Since we have to wait three FRICKING days for the playoffs to start (rant completed) and there isn't much to talk about except playoff match ups (which has been written about at least seventy times around the country) we might as well talk about something else that happens at this time every year: Managers getting guillotined. Yup, it's that time of year.

There really isn't much joy in being right about this type of story. The Fan wrote Sunday that Macha would be released by the Brewers. Well, technically, the Fan said, "fired," but the truth is that Macha's contract wasn't renewed. That's the same thing though, isn't it? About three hours after that post was written, Macha told the media himself that his contract wasn't being renewed. In other words, he spilled his own beans and trumped the GM and ownership of their own story. Bet they were happy about that! But good golly, this is a change that had to be made. The Brewers never had any spark at all this year. They were dead men walking. Sure they had bad pitching. But there were four teams that had worse pitching. But again, there is no joy in being right here. A man lost his job. His family is impacted, his self-esteem is impacted. He's out of a job. The thin-souled could say that he made a lot of money and had two years of being the big cheese. But take it from a guy who knows. Being suddenly without a cushy job is no fun. No fun at all.

It will be interesting to see who the Brewers hire. Will it be Willie Randolph or Dale Sveum? Both have managed before. If it's Randolph, will he have more fun than he did last time around with the Mets? He seemed utterly miserable during that gig. Sveum seems like the ambitious type. You know the type the Fan is talking about? The type that is just wetting his lips waiting for the sucker over his head to fall on his own sword so he can swoop in and take the job. That could be a complete and utter falsehood. He could be a saint for all we know. But that's the perception from this odd angle. What this team really seems to need is a Bud Black type. A guy who loves pitching and has pitchers loving him. The team is going to hit (though a couple of positions need adjusting). So get a pitching guy, right?

Again, the Fan has been calling for Minaya and Manuel's head for weeks now. It finally happened on Monday (though it was leaked as early as Saturday). And again, there is no joy in reporting that this fruit has been ripe for picking for a long time now. Manuel just wasn't in the right job and Minaya has simply had too many fiascoes dragging down his tenure. No situation in baseball seemed more messed up than this one (the last game and the way it was lost seemed to be the summation of all the problems) and now, hopefully, the Mets can get on with life and find some peace and quiet. The Fan really likes Bobby Valentine for this job. He knows the media. He knows the city. This would be perfect for him. Let's all hope it isn't Joe Torre. God forbid it! This isn't his kind of gig. This is a rebuilding effort and one that requires a major and not a general.

The Fan has to be honest and admit that John Russell had been all but forgotten. So his firing was a surprise, but not in hindsight. The Pirates were the worst team this side of the Mariners and somebody had to hold the bag for every single pitcher on the team regressing to the point of oblivion. Zach Duke used to be a highly thought of pitcher. Same with Maholm. Now they are Melba toast who will be lucky to get a job anywhere. Morton's results were just salt in the wound (waiting...). Somebody dropped the ball here and it didn't work. Russell fired his own pitching coach, a move justly made. But since that pitching coach was originally his own guy, well, what can you say? The Pirates' young players look exciting but it won't be Russell to bring them along. Who it will be is not remotely clear or predictable.

Yes, it happens every year and next year will be the same thing. At least Kirk Gibson is keeping his job. Don't know if that's a good thing or not. He certainly didn't win a higher percentage that Hinch. But anyway, that's one that will be reviewed next year. It seems a record number of teams are looking for a manager. This will be fun to see how it all sorts out.

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