Bob Geren is out and Ken Macha is in as the manager of the Oakland Athletics.
Friendship can mean everything in baseball. For Bob Geren, it gave him the chance to manage the Athletics for four-plus seasons before he was fired Thursday with his team 27-36 and on a nine-game losing streak. Geren and Athletics general manager Billy Beane grew up in San Diego competing against each other on the baseball field; they become such close friends that Geren served as the best man in Beane's second wedding. According to those close to the Athletics' situation, it also did not hurt that Geren was willing to do whatever Beane asked without ever offering much resistance.
There are roughly nine people, depending on how you count, that are at the core of the Oakland A’s problems this season. We’ll be charitable and call them the “hitters” on the team. Bob Geren’s most powerful tool to affect the team’s offense was to choose which players he put on that lineup card (in the AL, even the order isn’t all that important—it’s not like you can bat a pitcher leadoff or anything).
The mud hit the fan over the last week, and now a manager may find himself on the hot seat.
Here's a little insight into the prime source of AL West managerial turnover over the last decade: From 2001-present, Los Angeles (Mike Scioscia), Oakland (Art Howe, Ken Macha, and Bob Geren), and Texas (Jerry Narron, Buck Showalter, and Ron Washington) have collectively used only seven managers. Seattle, on the other hand, has run through seven managers from 2003-present. Accordingly, most of the talk of clubhouse discontent, unfulfilled potential on the field and the like has centered on the Mariners over the last several years. That was due to change at some point, and change it has, with an ugly situation very rapidly materializing out in Oakland as player-borne allegations have inundated the current Bob Geren regime.
The public nastiness began late Monday night when closer Brian Fuentes, still incredulous at having been summoned into a tied game in the eighth inning, blasted his skipper following a late-inning 4-1 loss at Anaheim: "The games in San Francisco were unorthodox managing. I thought it was a National League thing. But tonight was pretty unbelievable. ... I get up in the seventh inning. I have no idea. I didn't stretch. If there was some sort of communication beforehand, I'd be ready, which I was. I was heated up. I was ready. ... But there's just a lack of communication. I don't think anybody knows what direction (Geren) is headed." The next day, Geren demoted Fuentes as an apparent disciplinary measure and installed Grant Balfour as his new closer. Fuentes apologized to Geren behind closed doors for the public outburst, and all was (purportedly) forgiven.
Terry Francona's squad has been led back to contention by Adrian Gonzalez, but when will the real Carl Crawford show up?
Regardless of what happens in this afternoon's game against the Indians, the Red Sox will walk out of Progressive Field feeling better about themselves than after their last trip to Cleveland. That came back in early April, when the Red Sox were swept in a three-game series. The Red Sox fell to 0-6 as they headed to Boston and Fenway Park for their home opener the next day.
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The newest Hall of Fame manager also found success in the front office.
In his 44-year career in professional baseball, Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog held a wide variety of job titles: player, scout, coach, director of player development, manager and general manager. He earned his place in Cooperstown for his 18 years as a manager, which included 1,281 victories, three pennants, and a World Series title. But Herzog also boasts an impressive resume as a general manager, though the job was one he never particularly wanted or enjoyed.
Briefs from the Red Sox, Padres, and Phils, retorts to and from the Commissioner, plus news and notes from around the major leagues.
The Yankees have the distinction of being the only franchise in professional sports with expectations so high that if they don't win it all they consider their season a failure. The Yankees' chief rival in the American League East may also be reaching that challenging plateau; now that the Red Sox have ended their 86-year championship drought by winning two World Series in a four-year span between 2004-07, their fans also expect titles every year.