Acta Fired

We knew this was going to happen, we just thought it was going to happen sooner:

In the middle of his third season as manager, Manny Acta has been fired by the Washington Nationals, a source with knowledge of the situation said tonight. Asked in an e-mail about his job status, Acta replied, simply, “Thanks for everything.” Acta’s Nationals made it to the all-star break with a 26-61 record, worst in the majors, finishing with six losses in their last seven games. During the first half, Acta’s job status was the subject of much debate, and those in and out of the organization questioned whether his unfailingly patient approach matched the needs of a sloppy, error-prone team.

Overall, this is just the latest of several de-Bowdenification moves GM Mike Rizzo has made with this team. It’s a good move. Acta, for all of his potential, has not seemed at all inspired in the past few months and some fresh air is needed. And now is as good a time as any to do it, mostly because his replacement — who, if previous speculation is accurate, could be bench coach Jim Riggleman, on an interim basis — will have a day or two to get his head about him before taking over.

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  1. MooseinOhio said...

    This may be a odd sort of blessing for Acta as he gets out of a bad organization and will head to the bench of a team of choice for several more years before he gets a second chance to manage again.  As Wooden references, Francona and Torre were at best average managers until they managed teams that needed their temperament and style and now are considered top managers. 

    Just as Buck Showalter is a real good managerial choice if you have a young team that you want to develop discipline and good fundamental but maybe not so great with a veteran team.  The Nationals, Indians and Mets could all benefit from Showalter’s style right now and in few years may be in a position for the players manager type. 

    Managers need to develop as well and many of the best have been fired at least once, learned from their past experience and then accepted their next managerial position with a team that better fit their style.  Eric Wedge and Manny Acta could be very good managers some day – it just did not happen with the first clubs they managed.

  2. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    File this under the Betancourt and Failcouer trades – a move for the sake of making a move. Maybe Acta’s temperament will play better when he has more talent to win with (see Francona, Terry; Torre, Joe) but the manager was the least of this team’s problems (see defense, poor; bullpen, shitty).

    Stay tuned for some lame column from Chris Needham.

  3. Brandon Isleib said...

    Because Jim Riggleman’s a much better manager???  The guy’s career WPCT is .445 (basically his teams average 72-90 every year).

    Manager moves are fine when you upgrade.  When it’s debatable, why bother?

  4. David said...

    Brandon I:

    People who observe the Nats regularly (and I’m assuming that you don’t) will virtually all attest to the fact that the team has devolved into such a state that it’s very literally an affront to the integrity of the game.  They have played so horrifically in every facet of the game, that for the organization to stand idly by while the man responsible for the niceties of their play was tacitly commended would be to have their silence send a horrible message. 

    The team has done everything – everything – at a level that is wholly unacceptable for professional athletes.  From running the bases (players literally take round-about routes on stolen bases and station-to-station runs) to fielding (players making errors, fielders uncertain of who will field a ball) to hitting (horrible situational hitting), they’re just a nightmare. 

    Your argument is understandable.  You’re essentially saying that they’re a pile of s—-, and it doesn’t matter who’s talking to a pile of s—-, it’s still just a pile of s—-.  But the team’s manager could at least be spraying some Lysol on it, he could maybe instill the pile of s—- with a sense of integrity, like, “You might be a pile of s—-, but you’re a proud pile of s—-, dammit!”

    Further, the Nationals have several promising young players – Jordan Zimmerman, Detwiler, and at least a few others – and allowing that culture would send them a terrible message, too.  Like having a freshman class in high school have teachers who let the students run wild on the first day of school. 

    I’ve watched baseball closely for several years (especially so this year), and I’d say that the Nationals (both the team, and the larger organization) are the absolute worst organization in my time as a follower, bar none. 

    I take the “integrity of the game” very seriously and the Nationals were a genuine threat to that.  (Now if we can just find out when the hell Tim Donaghy became the President of Umpires for MLB Inc. and fire him, the sport will be purged of its two biggest problems!) 

    The Nationals were utterly unacceptable as a pro baseball team, and a change was a complete and total necessity.  That’s just my opinion.

  5. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    David – Obviously, you’ve not noticed the Royals or the Pirates. Unlike the Nationals, neither can point a period where MLB treated them like the Pennsylvania Road Warriors (if you truly follow baseball, you’ll not need clarifcation on that reference) and traded away talent like a child grasping at the $1 bin on the way into Target.

  6. David said...


    In terms of overall talent, I think I’d agree that K.C. and Pittsburgh are actually even worse off than is Washington (although I haven’t looked at the stats nor at their farm systems).  And yet we see that Washington has the worst record of them all, by far.  This, of course, is my point: Washington’s level of play has been completely inexcusable. 

    Consider this accurate account of just one game (which is hardly an isolated incident; Bad News Bears-style hardball is a trend for this team):

    The fact that the Nats play the game as if they’re shooting a movie called ‘The Three Stooges and their Six Brothers at the Ballpark’ is the biggest affront to the organization, but there’s so much more to mock:

    -The uniform incident
    -A team executive calling into sports radio and pleading with fans to show up….Philadelphia sports radio.
    -Their empty stadium that the local residents hate (thank God for all those rich lobbyists and defense contractors in Fairfax County!)
    -Scouts skimming bonus money

    The list goes on.

    The Nats have the worst record in all of baseball.  They play the actual games kind of like I play old Super Nintendo games that I haven’t touched since I was ten – befuddled and behind the curve.  Their management has repeatedly embarrassed themselves.  They have virtually no fan base to speak of. 

    Yes, there are other bad organizations.  But, in my opinion, there are none worse than the Nationals.  Nobody’s even close.

    That’s my opinion.

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