Thursday, November 19, 2009

Does Manny Acta's 'win breeds winning' philosophy work against him?

For those of you that haven't seen Manny Acta on "More Sports and Les Levine," here is the interview.

The interview is a good one, as Acta continued to carry an interview very well since his hire. He obviously knows his stuff, and does his homework, but we've been saying that from the very start. What's most intriguing to me about Acta is that he seems to know this club as good as Eric Wedge ever did, and he hasn't coached a game. Of course, talk is cheap in this town, but we all know that no talk can be even worse. Wedge proved that. I'm not going to be sold on Acta until I see this team play. He's got some years to go before we see any sort of fruition, but you really do never know in this division.

What I found most interesting about this interview by Acta were his statements about winning right out of the gate. I'll come back to that in a second. My biggest concern for Acta was that he knows nothing but losing as a major league manager. I've gone through the same argument here at B3 that Acta discussed when he was hired with regards to Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Terry Francona. All three managers struggled with losses early in their career before given a chance to win later on after they were more seasoned, and with different clubs.

The three aforementioned managers were given opportunities in bigger market clubs who had the ability to give them better teams to win. In essence, their market allowed Cox, Torre and Francona an opportunity to overcome their losing. Sure, they are talented managers, that's not really a question. They also were lucky enough to have some money to play with and build a team. Acta will have no such favors. In fact, the Cleveland Indians under the Dolans may not be any better than the Nationals at this point.

Which brings me back to my early discussion about Acta wanting to win out of the gate.
"I heard enough of that...the poor starts in spring training, and I think you need to win, regardless. It's important to stress that you do need to win in spring training. You don't want to leave spring training with that losing taste in your mouth. There's not a switch that you can just turn on after losing the last nine games in spring training and then make you think that in Chicago we are going to turn the switch on and now we're going to win. I'm going to emphasize that..."
This was my exact worry when the Indians hired Acta. He's bringing a history of losing to a team that's most recent history is losing. Yes, there's talent. Yes, there's ability. That said, it can be awfully hard, even after changing ballclubs for a manager and a team to get out of the rut.

Manny Acta sounds really good, and I have to admit that I'm ready to jump on the bandwagone. With that said Manny, there's not always a switch that you can just turn on after losing during your first three years as a manager.

The Tribe pessimism certainly remains for this blogger, but Acta has been doing a good job of bringing an optimistic approach to town. Will it help the two negatives of losing into a positive? Maybe not in 2010, but with Acta, you just never, ever know.

Now we just need to get him some pitchers.

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