(ed. note - "Note to all media...Since so many are stopping by to see if Manny Acta's been fired, one small request, no more 'Natinals' jokes, please? Continuing...")
With twelve hours or so to think about the causes behind the Washington Nationals' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Friday night, (which saw Nick Johnson drop a two-out foul pop a pitch before the game-winning home run by the Rays' Gabe Kapler in the bottom of the eighth), Washington Nationals' team President Stan Kasten talked to reporters, including Washington Times' writer Ben Goessling, who quotes Mr. Kasten in a Chatter post entitled, "Acta still the manager", in which Mr. Kasten makes it clear that the Nationals are at least considering a change on the bench, but also explains why they may not have done so as of 12:14 am EST on Monday...(ed. note - "Yes, I am counting the hours to what I now see as inevitable."), as Mr. Kasten explains:
"'I think you all watched the game last night, and you watched us lose a game, and if you listed the reasons for why we lost the game, I don't think the manager would be anywhere on your list of reasons. So it's hard dealing with that. And yet, we have a record of 16-43, which is, to me, inexplicable. So that's how I feel.'"
The problem is...
...The problem is that the same can be said of so many of the Nationals' 45 losses this season. So I ask you, why do the Nationals want to fire Manny Acta? When Washington hired Mr. Acta in early November of 2006, then DC GM Jim Bowden told AP writer Howard Fendrich, in an article entitled, "Nationals hire Manny Acta as new manager", that the team believed Acta was the right choice to replace old-school Frank Robinson because Acta was, in Mr. Bowden's words: "'...well-balanced, all the way around...He really understands teaching, developing, building a young club. He has great people skills, (and) he knows how to put the hammer down.'"
384 games later, with Washington having gone 148-236 under Manny Acta's direction, the team is on the verge of ridding themselves of the last few stains the Former DC GM left on the roster, and the Nationals are about to be left with just the kind of young team they imagined Mr. Acta developing when they originally hired him. So why fire Manny Acta now?
Peter Gammons was on "Baseball Tonight" to address Acta's status this evening, and after confirming his belief in the rumors of Acta's imminent departure, Mr. Gammons explained that Washington was interested in "changing the culture" of the ballclub. Nationals' team President Stan Kasten, as Washington Post writer Chico Harlan noted this weekend in a post entitled, "Kasten Won't Confirm or Deny Acta Firing Rumor", would only say, when asked, "..directly if the organization supports Acta", that, "We always support everyone here and always will," which I pointed out in a post yesterday, is a little too close to what Mr. Kasten told The Post's Chico Harlan in another post this past March entitled, "Bowden Denies Wrongdoing", where the Nationals' Team President responded to a question about Jim Bowden's job security by explaining that he, "...support(s) everyone who works for the Washington Nationals, all the time period," just a week before Mr. Bowden's "resignation."
Mr. Acta, at least as of the end of May, before his job security had become a national story, told the Washington Post's Chico Harlan in another Nationals Journal post entitled, "Acta Sees No Reason For Alarm", that he wasn't worried, "...because I've been up here for eight years in the big leagues...(and) my name's out there," meaning, he explained, that he believed he had achieved enough in baseball already that he'd always be able to make a living somewhere in the game, and around the same time, Mr. Acta took part in an interview with MLB.com writer Bill Ladson, entitled, "Acta discusses Nats' present and future", where Mr. Ladson went so far as to say that, "For the first time since you arrived in Washington, the fans are not on your side. They want to see a new manager...," which prompted Mr. Acta to say:
"'I can't control what people think or say. The bottom line is: they want to see the team win. Everybody is on board with the rebuilding. But that being said, not too many people are patient enough to lose while rebuilding. I have to respect their opinion, but I just prepare myself to go out there every single day and give this team the best possible chance to win.'"
"...not too many people are patient enough to lose while rebuilding..." Now that quote, is really interesting in light of Mr. Kasten's comments, again, in Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's Nationals Journal post entitled, "Kasten Won't Confirm or Deny Acta Firing Rumor", where the team President is quoted as stating:
"'We know the future is bright but we're not waiting for the future to get here. We're going to do everything we can to speed it up.'"
Maybe the new manager will be able to make the future arrive...uh, quicker? Or maybe the Nationals' will simply make another non-decision, exemplified by the "Acting" tag still hanging in front of "Acting" DC GM Mike Rizzo's job title...but more important than anything else, I think, is that the Nationals' no.1 pick this year, who, I might remind you has not yet signed, is getting to see how the organization deals with internal matters, out there in the media with the rumors spread by either, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal's "major league sources", or SI.com's Jon Heyman's "national league source", which gets us ever closer to the inevitable "source with knowledge of the team's thinking", who'll finally let us know Acta's fate...