Tribe manager has tough Acta to follow
Let me start out by making one thing perfectly clear: I was never a big Manny Acta fan.
Nothing personal, mind you, but what bothered me more about his hiring was that Acta was just another unproven guy – like Eric Wedge before him – who the Indians could get fairly inexpensively, and if (when) things didn't work out, they wouldn't take a huge financial hit if (when) they fired him.
After observing new Tribe skipper Terry Francona for three-quarters of a season though, there are some things I feel absolutely must be said. Much like the dog searching frantically for a fire hydrant, I simply have to let loose lest I explode. (Yes, I realize I probably could have come up with a better analogy, but you have to admit, it's a great visual. Unless you're a fire hydrant).
To present my argument adequately, however, we need to fire up the "Way-Back Machine" and return (briefly, I promise) to the summer of 2012, where just about this time last year the Indians were thoroughly engrossed (you have to admire their determination) in setting a record for the worst August in team history. Try as you might, who can forget the contributions from the likes of Casey Kotchman, Matt LaPorta, Jose Lopez, Ezequiel Carrera, Jack Hannahan, Jason Donald, Travis Hafner, et al? (I could easily name more, but – go figure – my column has a strict word limit, and I'm already "teetering on the brink," as it were). How many of these guys are playing (with any regularity) on major league teams elsewhere this year? I rest my case, Your Honor.
The point being: Manny Acta, as much as it pains me to say this, did one heck of a job keeping this team in contention for half a season last year, given this collection of pseudo athletes. In retrospect, how did that team NOT lose 120 games? Jeez, instead of firing the guy, they should have erected a statue right next to Rapid Robert Feller!
When the Indians hired Terry Francona over the winter, after spending some serious money (relative to "Dolan-dollars," anyway) on upgrading the talent here, they cited Francona's record for "running a professional clubhouse," noting that there wouldn't be as many "peaks and valleys" as there were with Manny, and cited Francona's two World Series rings.
They failed to mention that Francona, in 2011, guided the Red Sox to the worst September collapse – not in team history, but in baseball history. As far as eliminating the peaks and valleys this season, I guess you could argue he's done that, as long as you also define the Top Thrill Dragster as a relatively tame and level ride. And as far as the two World Series rings? He should give the 2007 Indians a half-share of his winnings, as the Tribe's gigantic choke-job is what got "Tito" his ring that year.
Anyway, if things don't work out with Francona, there's another guy currently available who's been to the World Series a couple of times in recent past.
Manuel – as in Charlie Manuel – ever hear of him?
Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!