Buck's Luck Runs Amuck
Didn't take the Rangers long. Regular season ends on Sunday. Buck Showalter fired on Tuesday. But such a decision is easy for Jon Daniels who has obviously immersed himself in the wisdom of the Powerhouse.
You know this is a move I've mentioned a few times. I wanted to get on this blog and scream when Hicks seemed to be laying the blame for this season on his players alone and letting his manager of the hook, but I'd taken a vow to not talk about the team until the season ended. And, it seems wisdom has prevailed.
Now, I don't think Buck is a bad guy. I think probably he is a very good guy. After all, this is a man who missed a game here and there to be at his kids' landmark events and allowed his coaches to do the same. He never would have been in the face of the Blue Jays first baseman Shea Hillenbrand for needing the day off to be with his wife as they brought their adopted child home the first time.
However, in Texas Buck was a mediocre manager who turned off both players and fans. He has a lot of knowledge and know how when it comes to baseball. However, he knows that too well. With his players, there was little communication as he was self-assured about the course of the team with himself at the wheel. This failure to communicate caused confusion and led to alienation. The resulting tension made it hard for a team to perform because they felt they always had to look over their shoulders.
The fans must have taken notice as attendance dropped this season. Sure, the team is in a decade-long rut, but the Cowboys are still selling out games. It's also clear that this was a hellishly hot summer, but that has not stopped baseball fans before. The one thing that quite possibly drove them away: the attitude. It was a tradition started by the now departed John Hart. Only Buck made himself more accessible so his arrogance was more clear. You could hear him in weekly interviews talking down to hosts and speaking as if he invented the game of baseball and it got old fast.
And it was visible as well. They way he hopped out of the dugout to remove a pitcher, something he had bad instincts for doing. His constant complaining and grandstanding directed at the umps. Who does he think he is? Mark Cuban? It had to wear on the fans and make it harder to go to the Ballpark.
So now comes perhaps the hardest decision Jon Daniels has had to make. Who will be the young GM's (well, he's my age) first managerial hire? Some say Don Wakamatsu or Rudy Jaramillo internally. Others point to some coaches around the major leagues. But who's the right man? This is important because the Rangers often pass on the right man. Missed out on Jim Leyland a few years back. Didn't stick with Jerry Narron long enough. Trust me. That's just a short list. Their track record with managers is about as good as their record with pitchers.
Me, with all the wisdom of the Powerhouse? I say Joe Girardi. Here's a man that took a team of players who would have been in the minors for most clubs and almost coached them into the playoffs. Unfortunately, he had a run in with his owner early in the year that his owner hasn't let go of yet. But, it's not an attitude problem on Girardi's part. The owner was making a fool of himself (we know what that's like) and Girardi called him on it. So here's a guy with guts as well.
Truthfully, I'd like to see Rusty Greer manage this team. Brings his hard-nosed, fun-loving personality to the clubhouse and unleash chaos on the AL West. But that's a sentimental pick as Greer likely needs coaching experience before he'd be ready to manage a team.
And I'm tired of watching the Rangers lose, so Girardi is your man, Jon Daniels. Or if you go with someone else, I'll be hoping you got lucky. And if you don't, maybe in four years Rusty will be ready.