IT'S ACTA ...OFFICIALLY (SORT OF)
[November 11th] -- It's been leaking all morning -- the Nationals will announce during the "Generals Managers meeting" in Naples Florida next week that Manny Acta will be the team's new manager. Considering how Stan Kasten and Jim Bowden have tried to keep the entire process quiet, they must be enraged that when they finally pick their man, the press reports it several days before they are ready to make the official announcement.
So the Nationals circumvented all the leaks by leaking the news themselves through a Bill Ladson story on the team's official website. Sighting a "high ranking baseball official," Ladson confirmed the speculation: Acta is the Nationals' new manager. "High ranking official?" Yeah, right. Ladsen probably got a call from Kasten telling him to break the story "semi-officially" before another reporter said the magic words, "It's official."
One thing surprises me, though. Acata's contract runs for only two years. That's not much of a "vote of confidence" from Stan Kasten and Jim Bowden. There may be a few free agents who might have considered signing with the Nationals because of Acta's presence in the dugout, but might now think twice because of the length of his contract. It's probably not that big of a deal, but if you're going to say to the fanbase that Acta is "the guy," you should say it louder than just two years.
The day it was announced that Frank Robinson wasn't returning next season, I asked that the new manager be 1) young, 2) vibrant and personable and 3) a "techno-geek" in the art of baseball. Acta is all three. I still don't think that Acta (or whoever the team would have chosen) won't be around when the team becomes competitive. The Nationals are three seasons away from being a good team, and they'll probably have a record of 222 - 264 (give or take) over that period. I just can't see the Nationals turning the reigns of the "new and improved" Nationals over to a guy who is collectively forty-four games under .500.
Who knows. It'll be interesting watching things unfold, that's for sure.
By the way, has anyone else noticed how different Acta looks in some of his pictures? One makes him look like a tele-tubby while the next shows him slim and svelte. The image on the left is from the WBC this spring, and the photo on the right was taken last week in Tokyo. Yet pictures taken last year show him looking completely different again.
Maybe Manny Acta is in reality Odo, the shape-shifter from Star Trek - Deep Space Nine. Hey, it's possible.
Acta is a good hire. Exactly what Washingon needs. Someone to grow with the team. And, if he doesn't work out, can easily be jettisoned for something better later on. Still, the team improves. I can appreciate all the secrecy. They are trying to conduct business in a professional manner, without outside influence or pressure. I wouldn't want someone to tell me how to run my TV Business, and I am sure you would not want someone to tell you how to run yours or your family's business. Its all OK. REALLY.