The Washington Nationals have fired yet another manager as the curse of the Montreal Expos seems to be still haunting the team. Manny Acta was relieved of his duties and sent packing. The team has a history of making the bench boss the scapegoat for their poor play and someone needed to take the blame for the Nationals’ lowly record of 26-61. The team has chosen current bench coach Jim Riggleman to be the interim manager and he will take over the team after the All Star break.
Nationals’ management said they were mulling over the decision for quite some time and finally decided upon letting Acta go over the weekend. The final decision came from General Manager Mike Rizzo but many fans feel that he is in fact the one to blame. Rizzo stated that he thinks the team is a lot better on paper than they have played on the field and that a new leader in the clubhouse could turn the season around.
Overall since Acta had been head coach the Nationals have put together a depressing record of 158-252. In his first season he led the team to a respectable finish in 2007 but it has been a steady decline since then. Last year the team had a league worst record of 59-102.
Before becoming a part of the Nationals Acta was known for being the head coach of the team from Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. He led the young, inexperienced team to a berth in the semi-finals and proved that he could harness young talent and be a leader. That did not transfer over to the MLB though, although he should have no trouble finding new work this season or next.
It will be interesting to see if Riggleman can make any difference to how the team plays or if the team is destined to finish at the bottom of the league once again.
Drill Down: Jim Riggleman
, Mike Rizzo