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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Manny Acta, former Nationals manager, joins ESPN as analyst

Manny Acta, the second manager in Nationals history from 2007 to 2009, will join ESPN as an in-studio baseball analyst in English and Spanish. Acta will debut Sunday night on Baseball Tonight, the cable network’s baseball show. He will be a frequent voice on baseball across several of the network’s English and Spanish language shows and programming — but he still hopes one day to return to the dugout as a manager.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to step back from the game for a little while and take this challenge,” he said in a telephone interview with The Post. “It’s allowing me the opportunity to stay in the game and look at it from a different angle. It comes at a perfect time for me. My daughter is a senior in high school and I get to spend this last year with her. It was a good time.”

Alex Cora, a veteran infielder who last played in the majors with the Nationals in 2011, also joins ESPN and ESPN Deportes as a baseball analyst. Both will make their debut Sunday night at 7 p.m. on Baseball Tonight previewing the World Baseball Classic game between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Thanks to SD.

Repoz Posted: March 10, 2013 at 08:52 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media

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   1. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4385502)
Just had a dumb moment. Was surprised that Acta wasn't still managing the Indians because I didn't recall him getting fired. I use Google to see who their manager is now...

Oh. I knew that.
   2. Bourbon Samurai Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4385518)
I don't have any idea who the Indians manager is. Eric wedge? Mike Hargrove? Nick swisher?
   3. JE (Jason) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4385523)
I was disappointed that he didn't succeed in either DC or Cleveland, although neither roster was blessed with much talent. He seems really bright and I hope he gets another shot at the bigs.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4385587)
I don't have any idea who the Indians manager is. Eric wedge? Mike Hargrove? Nick swisher?


Terry Francona.

If I'm not mistaken, Acta got fired in the last week of the regular season.

I was disappointed that he didn't succeed in either DC or Cleveland, although neither roster was blessed with much talent. He seems really bright and I hope he gets another shot at the bigs.


Manny is among the most stathead friendly of all recent managers. He's also pretty terrible at managing, so I'm not sure a third bit at the apple is in the cards.

   5. JE (Jason) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4385608)
He's also pretty terrible at managing

I assume what you are saying is that he is not adept at handling the clubhouse aspect of the game.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4385614)
Manny is among the most stathead friendly of all recent managers. He's also pretty terrible at managing, so I'm not sure a third bit at the apple is in the cards.
If he's personable enough to get an ESPN job, and if he wants to manage again, he'll get another job by sheer inertia.

I don't know if it would be a good idea to hire him - he does not appear to have done well in his first two jobs, but it's near impossible to say exactly how well he did within a pretty wide range, or what sort of team he might be a better fit for. He might learn over time to be a better manager, or he might find a situation where his skills and personality work better. A lot of guys take a few tries to get it right.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4385619)
I don't know if it would be a good idea to hire him - he does not appear to have done well in his first two jobs, but it's near impossible to say exactly how well he did within a pretty wide range, or what sort of team he might be a better fit for. He might learn over time to be a better manager, or he might find a situation where his skills and personality work better. A lot of guys take a few tries to get it right.


Obviously he wasn't loaded with talent. I just don't see anything in his record. There was no significant development of talent, no signs the club was moving in the right direction. He took over crappy teams, and left them just as crappy as he found them, seemingly no closer to competing than when he got there. I just don't see what he has done in Cleve. or Wash. that would make a GM think he's the right man for the job.

Then again, I thought Bobby V. was a terrible hire. (-:
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4385621)
I just don't see what he has done in Cleve. or Wash. that would make a GM think he's the right man for the job.
I don't either. But that doesn't mean either (a) he won't be the right man for the job in the future or (b) he won't get a job in the future. I think (a) is entirely possible and (b) is nearly certain.

We just know so little about what a manager has actuall done, and the effects he can have are so variable club to club and person to person, that I don't think we can justify writing a guy off just because there's nothing particularly good in his record. I wouldn't bet on him, but I don't write him off. And he will get another job, if he wants it. The ESPN gig guarantees it.
   9. boteman Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4385622)
Manny Acta's television persona is tailor-made for a magazine article. A cardboard cutout with his likeness has more personality.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4385624)

We just know so little about what a manager has actuall done, and the effects he can have are so variable club to club and person to person, that I don't think we can justify writing a guy off just because there's nothing particularly good in his record. I wouldn't bet on him, but I don't write him off. And he will get another job, if he wants it. The ESPN gig guarantees it.


I agree with all of this (although I wouldn't go as far as saying the ESPN gig guarantees it. Steve Phillips wasn't brought back into the fold). But someone could hire him (and it's possible the third stop is the one where it clicks for him). But if I were a GM, I'd much rather give a shot to someone unproven then take a chance the third time is the charm with Acta.

   11. Tim D Posted: March 10, 2013 at 09:04 PM (#4385938)
Joe Torre had been fired three times and was 894-1003 when the Yankees hired him...............
   12. JJ1986 Posted: March 10, 2013 at 09:06 PM (#4385940)
Steve Phillips wasn't brought back into the fold


But he did get to work for numerous fake teams.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2013 at 09:10 PM (#4385941)
Joe Torre had been fired three times and was 894-1003 when the Yankees hired him...............


And according to Dag, Torre's performance at those three stops wasn't bad at all (whether that had anything to do with the Yankees hiring him is another matter).

   14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 10, 2013 at 09:11 PM (#4385942)
Steve Phillips wasn't brought back into the fold

Yet.
   15. akrasian Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:45 PM (#4386013)
Did anybody actually watch the debut? How did Alex Cora do? I always liked him, but I have no idea if he would be adequate as a tv personality.
   16. bobm Posted: March 11, 2013 at 12:10 AM (#4386023)
Joe Torre had been fired three times and was 894-1003 when the Yankees hired him...............

And according to Dag, Torre's performance at those three stops wasn't bad at all


    Years                  Tm   Years   G   W   L W-L% Finish
1977-1981       New York Mets 5 years 709 286 420 .405    5.3
1982-1984      Atlanta Braves 3 years 486 257 229 .529    2.0
1990-1995 St. Louis Cardinals 6 years 706 351 354 .498    3.5
   17. Dan Posted: March 11, 2013 at 12:49 AM (#4386031)
I think I would hire Acta as a bench coach but I don't think he'd be a top choice if I were looking for a manager. He seems like the sort of bright guy that could work well as a strategy sounding board for a good manager, but he's never put it together as a real leader of men in his chances to manage.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: March 11, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4386037)
Years Tm Years G W L W-L% Finish
1977-1981 New York Mets 5 years 709 286 420 .405 5.3
1982-1984 Atlanta Braves 3 years 486 257 229 .529 2.0
1990-1995 St. Louis Cardinals 6 years 706 351 354 .498 3.5



I know what the record is, the point was how well he did with what he had to work with and the conditions he was working under. He also gives better marks to Gil Hodges and Frank Robinson than a simple glance at their BBRef pages would suggest. Maybe he'd see the same from Acta, but I tend to doubt it.

   19. sinicalypse Posted: March 11, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4386278)
Somewhere Ozzie Guillen is vociferously bemoaning the fact that... pfft, * giggle * Manny Acta * laugh * got another job. By his metrics, he should have no problem getting a commentator gig this year (if Fox hasn't scooped him up already).
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 11, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4386290)
Somewhere Ozzie Guillen is vociferously bemoaning the fact that... pfft, * giggle * Manny Acta * laugh * got another job. By his metrics, he should have no problem getting a commentator gig this year (if Fox hasn't scooped him up already).

You laugh, but having Ozzie Guillen on air would definitely make me more likely to watch a wrap-up show.
   21. Chris Needham Posted: March 11, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4386331)
I've used this comparison before, but Manny Acta, after having watched him for a few seasons, is Chance the Gardener from Being There.

He's seen enough that he knows a few phrases to spit back to make it sound like he knows what he's doing. But when push comes to shove, he's just another imbecile. Yet there are many who are willing to latch onto those phrases without looking beyond the surface to see that there's no 'there' there.

Now all we need to do is see if we can get Manny to walk across a swimming pool.
   22. vivaelpujols Posted: March 11, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4386376)
Manny is among the most stathead friendly of all recent managers. He's also pretty terrible at managing, so I'm not sure a third bit at the apple is in the cards.


Not sure what the rational for this is. The Nats and Indians sucked when he managed them? Wouldn't we expect that under any manager? I have no idea why you think Acta is a terrible manager.
   23. vivaelpujols Posted: March 11, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4386379)
But if I were a GM, I'd much rather give a shot to someone unproven then take a chance the third time is the charm with Acta.


I used to think this. Then I watched Matheny manage this year.
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: March 11, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4386387)
Not sure what the rational for this is. The Nats and Indians sucked when he managed them? Wouldn't we expect that under any manager? I have no idea why you think Acta is a terrible manager.


Because there weren't any signs he was accomplishing anything. Did his teams improve? No. They were as bad off as when he got there, if not worse. Was he good at developing kids? Not that I can see. If there's something you can point out that suggests Manny Acta has some solid managerial skills, I'm all ears. But both looking at the record, and the comments from fans like Chris who followed him closely in Washington and others who did the same in Cleveland, I'm not seeing anything that would indicate there's anything there, to quote Mr. Needham.

I used to think this. Then I watched Matheny manage this year.


Yes, it must have been torture only getting to the seventh game of the NLCS. (-:
   25. Chris Needham Posted: March 11, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4386403)
His first year in DC, he did a great job. He was given a crappy roster, and did a good job mixing and matching, trying to milk every possible advantage he could.

But his players grew to have zero respect for him. He showed no ability to develop players or identify and nurture them into roles. And although Bowden gave him rosters with a lot of me-first, first-class aholes, he wasn't able to bring any of them into line, and actually made the situation worse with plenty of them. He failed spectacularly at the "leader of men" side of the job.

To me, his biggest sin was his complete and utter lack of emotion. You don't need to be a Sweet Lou hothead, but there's a difference between that, and NEVER taking sides with your players during an argument. Manny felt that that wasn't really his job, and wouldn't change the situation. But what happened, in the end, was his players lost all respect for him. If their manager isn't fighting for them, and he's not getting results, then why should I care what he has to say?

I didn't follow things as closely with him in Cleveland as here in DC, but there, he certainly seemed to have a few fights with players -- or at least players who weren't unhappy to see him leave. Here, when Riggleman got the job, Ryan Zimmerman -- perhaps the most milquetoast player in the league -- had a few quotes from the press where, reading between the lines, he was glad for a change.

So, sure. He can spout out some claptrap about the value of a sacrifice bunt, but if you can't get the players to buy in, you can't mold the players toward your strategy or (and this is key too) you don't have the juice with your front office to get the kinds of players you need, then you're going to fail.
   26. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: March 11, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4386428)
but he still hopes one day to return to the dugout as a manager


Preferably with anybody in the NL East except the Nationals.
   27. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: March 11, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4386429)
A cardboard cutout with his likeness has more personality.


And would make less mistakes as manager.
   28. The Good Face Posted: March 11, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4386461)
But his players grew to have zero respect for him. He showed no ability to develop players or identify and nurture them into roles. And although Bowden gave him rosters with a lot of me-first, first-class aholes, he wasn't able to bring any of them into line, and actually made the situation worse with plenty of them. He failed spectacularly at the "leader of men" side of the job.


This is the reason why I generally grit my teeth and try not to complain too much about Ron Washington. He will occasionally make egregious tactical blunders, but he manages to maintain the respect of his clubhouse, his teams generally avoid drama despite having employed some challenging personalities, he's developed some young players, older players often have surprisingly good seasons under him, and his teams generally play hard.

It's easy to say all that stuff is either no big deal, or the result of random chance, but I don't think that's true. Successful managers in all human endeavors tend to do better if they have those soft skills; I don't see why baseball should be different.
   29. Blubaldo Jimenez (OMJ) Posted: March 11, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4386498)
A specific example that illustrates post 25:

Indians-Yanks last year. Hannahan fouls one into the stands, third base side. A New York player makes an attempt at it, but comes up a few rows short. Hannahan is called out anyway, even though the player doesn't even have the ball. He comes out to his position the next half inning and gets run. That is Acta. It doesn't matter if the call is right, you have to protect your player there, even if the guy isn't exactly Trout.

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