CLEVELAND: Are the players that Manny Acta managed disappointed that he was fired on Thursday?
“This was a business decision, obviously,” Vinnie Pestano said Friday. “All Manny wanted was to be successful and win. Nobody wants to win more than Manny. You know, I’ve been here two years, and I’ve already had two pitching coaches [Scott Radinsky, Rubin Niebla] and two managers [Acta and Sandy Alomar].”
In speaking of Acta, Jason Kipnis said, “He’s a great guy. I wish him the best, wherever he lands on his feet. He helped me a lot. But the season just didn’t work out.”
The beginning of the end for Acta came when the Tribe collapsed in late July and August, falling from 50-49 on July 26 to 55-77 on Aug. 31
“August is when the nail went in the coffin,” Chris Perez said. “I’m not saying it’s just that, though.”
Alomar was named interim manager for the season’s final six games and also a candidate for the permanent position. In fact, General Manager Chris Antonetti called him “the primary candidate” on Thursday.
After doing a national radio interview naming former Boston Red Sox skipper Terry Francona a person of interest, Antonetti announced that Francona is on his radar. He said he made Francona’s name public because he is employed by ESPN rather than another club.
It would be considered tampering by Major League Baseball to contact or publicly reveal an interest in someone who has another big-league job until after that team’s season is over. Antonetti said that nobody else on his short list is working for a major-league club.
In his first interview with the media in his new job, Alomar appeared a little uneasy to be put in the spotlight. He said an important aspect of being field boss is to put himself in the background.
“I played 20 years in the major leagues, and one thing I learned from my coaches is that you have to be able to manage yourself before you can manage others,” Alomar said. “If you want to lead, you can’t put yourself first.”
Alomar has interviewed for the manager’s job for the Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago Cubs, so he understands that managers are vulnerable.
“Nothing surprises me in this game,” he said. “I always try to focus on what’s going on now. I’m doing that now. I never look ahead.”
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.