Say what you want to say about Acta the manager, but the man himself is a true gem. Anyone who has covered him, seen him speak in public, or was lucky enough to cross paths with him can’t help but like him. He is the definition of the word “personable.”
In the end, personality can only get you so far. The results on the field are what matter most, and when you are 214-266 in almost three full years while overseeing back to back late season collapses, likability no longer matters.
Manny Acta lost his job yesterday to the surprise of nobody. The timing of it all was a little odd, but as GM Chris Antonetti explained it, it was done with the players exit interviews in mind. Acta tried everything he could with this year’s bunch, from coddling them to getting in their faces, which included a team meeting in Seattle where he tore into his sagging group. But as one unnamed player told Indians.com beat reporter Jordan Bastian “by that time, it was too late.”
I was always under the impression that the players all loved going to war with Manny. But reports yesterday were that his laid back demeanor was not favored by some in the clubhouse.
The most interesting quotes came from veterans Joe Smith and Jack Hannahan:
“Our team for whatever reason didn’t seem motivated to play,” Smith said. “It’s sad when you say that about a bunch of guys that get paid to play a game. You shouldn’t need somebody else to motivate you to play this game. At the end of the day, it’s on us, but when it came that time to motivate us, there wasn’t a whole lot of it there. He was always a good guy to us personally. You can’t say anything bad about him in that way.”
“I’ve respected the fact that Manny was a manager that let his veterans do the policing,” Hannahan said. “That’s something that I respected about him. This is the big leagues. You don’t need a babysitter in the big leagues. You need veterans to lead the way.”
No players would bash him on the record of course, but it won’t shock anyone of after the season Mr. quote himself Chris Perez has something to say on the topic.
Manny deserved much better than this, but he had to know this was coming. Even the most ardent Acta supporters1 knew that he wasn’t going to make it through. I can’t sit here and say he deserves another year after what I witnessed after the All-Star break. Going 21-50 is inexcusable, especially in the sad sack AL Central. There is no doubt a change needed to be made.
But this is far from Acta’s fault.
The thing that disturbed me the most in yesterday’s press conference discussing Acta’s dismissal, was Paul Dolan’s steadfast and ardent support of Antonetti, the guy who put this complete mess of a roster together. Team President Mark Shapiro told the media that he and the Dolan ownership are staying the course with the man who has set the organization back two to three years with his horrific 2012 performance.
“I feel he’s controlled the bulk of what he can control well,” Shapiro explained. “Paul (Dolan) and I still endorse strongly (Antonetti’s) vision for how we can be competitive and, ultimately, a championship team. We feel that he’s uniquely qualified and more capable than any other person in leading us to that outcome.”
I say shame on you, Paul. Throwing Acta to the wolves was the easy thing to do. He is your ready-made scapegoat. But was he the guy who chose to have Grady Sizemore be your big free agent signing in October when NOBODY ELSE would have taken a chance on him until February? Was Acta the guy who thought Johnny Damon and Shelley Duncan as the left field platoon was a good idea? Was it Acta who decided to put together a lineup that was nothing but left-handed bats and featured two all-glove, no-hit corner men? Was it Acta who thought Ubaldo Jimenez was worth selling your two best pitching prospects?
I could go on and on. The guy who should be losing his job along with Acta is Antonetti. When unearthing Esmil Rogers is the move you hang your hat on, it’s probably not a good sign. There is no depth at AA or AAA to speak of. September was a 4-A convention. The team had chances to sell high on both Chris Perez and Shin-Soo Choo at the deadline and did nothing.
Antonetti’s record as a GM is as poor as Acta’s as a manager.
The Dolan’s are in full face saving mode, yet they can’t even get this right. Sure, promoting Sandy Alomar Jr. is the right move for now, but anyone who thinks he won’t get the job permanently is fooling them self. Save your Terry Francona pipe dreams. The guy isn’t coming here. He can sit back and wait for the right job and get paid in excess of $5 million to do so. Why would he come here to manage this train wreck under the current ownership?
Sandy is 100 percent going to get the job because A) He will come cheap, and B) He is a Tribe legend from the “Era of Champions.” He will bring in Kenny Lofton as one of his coaches and it will make many Tribe fans feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Nostalgia is the Dolan’s only card to play. What are they selling on the field?
Any credibility they had locally2 was lost when they announced yesterday that Antonetti would be back next year as GM. Tell me what he has done to warrant another year?
Things are only going to get worse over the next few years, no matter who the manager is. I feel sorry for Acta. He lost his job because Antonetti handed him a water pistol for a machine gun fight.
Image Source: AP Photo