Nationals: Getting His Acta Together
It appears that reports of Manny Act’s termination were greatly exaggerated. See one source said “he’d be fired soon” and then half the Internet (okay, so half the Internet doesn’t care about the Nationals-I’m exaggerating) has him out by the end of the week.
Of course he’s not fired. Not yet anyway. Of course every manager is “not yet” fired, so take that for what you will. Of course they are by far the worst team in baseball and not going to get any better anytime soon. The fact that Acta is done after this year is about as certain as it being hot in August around here-but I wouldn’t count on it soon, or at least until the All-Star Break. Reason being is several fold:
a.) He’s on the road, during the AL East part of the schedule. The Nations eyes are on the Nationals and it would be incredibly unseemly for Ted Lerner (who still needs some popularity points around these parts) to pull the trigger on Manny while on the road. You’d have to be the New York Mets to do something like that.
b.) Fans don’t care: Most people don’t watch the Nationals, and those that do aren’t really pointing the finger at Manny Acta. Why? Well if you watch the games its never really an issue of Acta making bad calls or hunting down awful free agents. He’s just the fall guy in this position, surrounded by the worst bullpen in the Majors, an inconsistent hitting , the most errors of any team in the league, and a front office that is still feeling the ravages of what happened to the Expos. They are only just now finally starting to build a team (Lerner has only owned the team for just under three years) that has the backing of all the players involved. Acta has some thing to do with the woes of the Nats (I’d particularly blame him for an Error filled team) but he’s not even close to the biggest clog in this broken machine.
Point being-no one is calling for his head, and people aren’t going to show up to games just because he’s gone.
c.) Who are you going to replace him with? Riggleman? He’s the answer? If he’s just going to be the “interim” manager why not keep Manny Acta? What is the bench coach going to possibly bring to this team that Manny Act doesn’t (or that Riggleman isn’t bringing in his current role.) Unless Joe Torre is the bench coach, I see this only disrupting an already disrupted team and doing no good for nobody.
And I wouldn’t expect Joe Torre to do any better.
d.)The Team Likes Him. If there were reports of the team fighting in the clubhouse, or players speaking out about managerial decisions to the press that might be a reason to cut ties with him sooner rather than later. All signs indicate Acta at least keeps these guys together and showing up for work.
Don’t get me wrong-Manny Acta will be fired, and it’s certainly the right thing to do. Progressively worse seasons, worst record in baseball-he’s done for, and he should be. But I’m fairly sure he’s done the best with what he has available to him and that everyone in the front office realizes that. They’ll give him as long as they can before letting him go.