Tuesday, July 31, 2007
A Few Moments With Manny Acta
As mentioned last night, Our Manager Manny Acta and I crossed paths again yesterday evening in Woodbridge, Virginia. Both of us on hand to watch Shawn Hill take the mound for The Potomac Nationals in his first Rehab Start. Manny was accompanied by his confidant--Our Bullpen Coach--Rick Aponte. All three of us chatted briefly on the side--before I asked Our Manager whether he might have a few moments for some questions for The Nats320 Blog.
Accommadating and as friendly as always--Our Number 14 agreed, but he did not wish to talk about individual players, contracts or the upcoming trade deadline. So, my line of approach centered on Manny Acta as Our Manager.
Here we go:
What have you learned as a Manager, so far, this year? (SBF)
“The Game is pretty much the same, but I have spent a lot of time getting everybody in the right frame of mind. Especially with all the injuries we have had this year. And obviously, trying to create the right atmosphere to win. But, for me, the game is really pretty much the same.”
Well, then what have you got across to your players? (SBF)
“Well, the first thing was to convince them—not to worry about the predictions (worst team of all time) and all that. I needed to convince them (the players) to do things right. So far, so good. Monthly, we have seen the progress that our guys have made. That’s really what we wanted to do.”
What’s been your biggest success thus far this year, as a Manager in the Majors? (SBF)
“Definitely, convincing them (the players) that we were far better than anyone thought. That we, as a team, could go out there on the playing field and compete each and every day. Regardless of not having all the Superstars, we have a chance every single game to win.”
If you have won your players over to compete, and convinced them they are good players—what is your next step? (SBF)
“Well, the next step is to develop our younger kids for Our Future. Then, once we move into the New Stadium, with the increase of Our Payroll, I think you will see everything take care of itself.”
Where does your great patience come from? (SBF)
(HUGE LAUGH FROM MANNY—BIG SMILE) “You got to have it in baseball. You got to have it in baseball when you know, which I do, what we are going against.” (Manny smiling throughout this answer--SBF)
Really, your patience is amazing. You have been thrown a lot of different things your way—Injuries, A Young Team, but you never lose it? (SBF)
“Honestly, you can only control so much. Injuries and stuff like that you can’t control. So, I might as well be patient, hope the guys get well. In the long run, injuries give more guys opportunities and, in our situation, hopefully those players will take advantage of their chances.”
What are your team goals for the remainder of this season? (SBF)
“Continue to get better. Really, that’s all I wish. I don’t look at numbers—the “W’s” and “L’s”. Obviously, we want to get more, but I just want our team to get better.”
If you had the choice of finishing OUT OF last place, or improving the team--which would you choose? (SBF)
“Well, I think that goes hand in hand. If we take care of business to improve, there are still plenty of games left to win. So, we might not be able to finish last (The Man is EVER POSITIVE—SBF)”
Finally, as far as Shawn Hill is concerned--the reason why you are here at Potomac tonight---what’s your hopes for his performance? (SBF)
“Just to be healthy, regardless of the result. He’s one of our best pitchers. We would like to see him back in a Nationals Uniform on the mound for us.”
With that, Our Manager Manny Acta had to head off with Rick Aponte to prepare for Shawn Hill’s Rehab start last night. He is a fascinating character. A Good Young Leader in many respects. Sure of himself, yet openly fun to be around. Hopefully, one day soon--Our Washington Nationals will hand him a very talented team--ready to contend. As well has he's performed so far in his Rookie Season as Manager--its hard to imagine Manny failing.