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MANAGERIAL POOL JUST KEEPS GROWING

[November 2nd] -- When I was a kid, it was called "too many Chiefs, not enough Indians" (today, the PC police would rip my lips right off my face for saying something like that). On XM "Home Plate" this morning, Mark Patrick used the term "too many cooks in the kitchen."

He was describing the Nationals' search for a manager -- a process that grows with each succeeding day.

Patrick kept repeating that he didn't want to "criticize" the Nationals for not making a quick and definitive decision, but that's exactly what he kept doing. He seemed genuinely dumbstruck by the team's inability to make this important choice.

Buck Martinez said that team president Stan Kasten's management style was quick and decisive, a stark contrast to that of general manager Jim Bowden. "Kasten wanted Fredi Gonzalez to manage the team, and he wanted to get the deal done right away" said Martinez. When the former Braves coach signed with the Marlins before talking with other teams, Martinez said that Bowden's haphazard management style took over. Mark Patrick said that "Perhaps Bowden is looking for someone he can have a good relationship with," someone who will believe in the GM's rebuilding plan.

Still, Martinez, Patrick and Orestes Destrada seemed surprised that it's been a month since the Nationals fired Frank Robinson and yet seem less ready to make a choice than they did two weeks ago. This morning, Barry Svrluga is reporting that the Pirates' Trent Jewett has been interviewed for the position. Jewett, 42, has been a minor league manager for fourteen years, and seems as ready to take the Nationals' helm as does John Russell or Manny Acta.

I'd be happy with any of them as manager; heck, at this point, I'd be happy if they re-hire Robinson. The team needs to have all of their decision-makers in place as they prepare for the off-season free agent and trade markets. The manager needs to feel a sense of ownership in his team. I'm not suggesting that the manager should pick his players, but conversations like "I think Escobar is ready to take over center on an everyday basis and so I'm not going to trade for anyone right now -- what do you think?" should be taking place on a regular basis form now until February. The manager knows the type of player he needs to make his system work; to create a team without having a system for them to play within is a little like having the "cart before the horse"(do horses have an anti-defamation organization that's going to call me names?)

Acta, Russell, Jewett -- they are all exactly what I wanted to see in a new manager. They are young, they have experience, and they want very much to be a major league manager now. But too many times in life, I have waited to make a decision because I wanted it to be "right" and ended up having no real choice at all because no one was willing to wait while I decided what to do. Last summer, Tony Beasley was called "a guy who will one day be a great big-league manager" by Jim Bowden, yet Bowden gave him about five seconds to decide whether to take a postion within the organization before he canned him.

The Nationals need to make a decision. Now. Waiting any longer will not turn up a heretofore unknown managerial gem. For someone who makes trades without considering the consequences, Jim Bowden seems incapable of choosing his new manager.

Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick ......


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