Will Manny Acta Be Managing The Washington Nationals In 2010?

In an article by Washington Post writer Chico Harlan on May 29, 2009, entitled, "Acta Sees No Need For Alarm", DC Manager Manny Acta related how he'd become a more patient Manager during the time he was working his way up through the minor leagues, and by the time he was hired as the Nationals' skipper, Mr. Harlan writes:

"Acta had made a conscious decision to remain steady, calm and non-argumentative, believing ballplayers didn't respond well to fire. So far, Acta has resisted every temptation to change."

In an article from the Sunday New York Times' Sports section by Fred Bierman entitled, "From Long Ago, A Manager of Today", Mr. Bierman writes:

"He was a new type of manager...The old-time leaders ruled by force, often thrashing players who disobeyed orders or committed blunders on the field or broke club rules off the field. One of the kindliest and most soft-spoken of men, he always insisted that he could get better results by kindness."

Continued After The Jump...

...In addition to his ideas about the best way to get good performances out of his players, Manny Acta told "Mike" from Squawking Baseball.com back in a November 25, 2008 article entitled, "Manny Acta Sits Down For Interview With Squawking Baseball", that his approach to managing was increasingly being influenced by the sort of statistical analysis that is commonly referred to as "Sabermetrics", or as Mr. Acta's put it...

"...More than being statistically-inclined, I’m very open minded. If someone can show me things that I didn’t already know, I am willing to change. I’m not stubborn. If the statistical evidence shows I’m wrong, and it helps me and my team win baseball games, then I would be a fool not to listen."

Asked by the Squawking Baseball.com writer what he might have done differently had he embraced this sort of stastical analysis earlier in his career, Mr. Acta responded:

 

"'I would have bunted less when I managed in the minors. I still would have had the minor leaguers run, because winning isn’t the most important thing down there, and most players have the green light to work on their baserunning skills.'"

A little over a year earlier, in an article another interview with "Mike" at Squawking Baseball.com entitled, "Manny Acta Interview", Mr. Acta was asked to clarify his position on "...bunting and other one-run strategies", and Mr. Acta explained:

"'Bunting is pretty outdated. Everybody scores so many runs nowadays, it doesn’t make sense to play for one run unless it’s late in the game and it’s close. I hardly ever bunt early in a game, unless it’s with a pitcher. A big inning can win you a game. One run in the third inning can’t, unless you have Pedro pitching.'" 

Back in Fred Bierman's New York Times' article entitled, ""From Long Ago, A Manager of Today", Mr. Bierman writes that this new way of thinking by the manager: 

"...favored power and on-base percentage to batting average and speed. He was a hands-off manager in many respects. He rarely called for sacrifice bunts or changed his lineup much from day to day."

If you hadn't already figured out the obvious, with all the changes the Nationals have made to their starting lineup throughout the year, the last line of the quote above may have clued you in to the fact that the New York Times' writer Fred Bierman was not talking about DC Manager Manny Acta in this week's article, but instead about the all-time winningest Manager in major league baseball history, the Philadelphia AthleticsCornelius "Connie Mack" McGillicuddy, whose name came up again recently when St. Louis Cardinals' skipper Tony La Russa recorded his 2,500th win. I'm not saying Manny Acta will go down in history as one of the best Managers in baseball if the Washington Nationals decide to keep him after his contract expires at the end of this season, but what I am saying is that as far back as the turn of the last century, teams were winning with the sort of philosophy Mr. Acta epouses today in terms of interracting with and get the most out of a professional ball club...and the Nationals are almost to the point of having one...

 

Further Reading:

• Amazin' Avenue's Eric Simon's article entitled, "Jerry Manuel vs Manny Acta: The Quotes" compared the same Manny Acta quotes from the Squawking Baseball articles to quotes from various sources in which Mets' manager Jerry Manuel described his own stat-averse approach to management. (ed. note - "Please note not only that Amazin Avenue's Eric Simon disapproves of Mr. Manuel's approach to management, but that he, like many other Mets fans, would like to have Manny Acta back as soon as the Nationals decide to part ways with Mr. Acta.")

• Wednesday Morning Presser - Washington Post - Jonathan Forsythe

Nationals manager Manny Acta describes his managing style and discusses his philosophies on base stealing, bunting, and using the bullpen.

• Incoming Acta Has Outgoing Style - washingtonpost.com - Barry Svrluga

The Nationals will hold a 4 p.m. news conference this afternoon to announce the hiring of their new manager, Manny Acta.

We Want Acta To Stay In DC!!!

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