Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Calm Amidst A Storm

Our Manager Manny Acta never ceases to amaze me. Our Number 14 doesn't panic and always stands by his beliefs. He truly is The Calm Amidst A Storm. And after Manny gave post season interviews to Chico Harlan at WashingtonPost.com and Bill Ladson at Nationals.com--my respect for The Most Charismatic Of Men became even greater than before.

Manny Acta believes in himself and he doesn't let all the noise, the chatter, sometimes the nonsense, surrounding his role as a Major League Manager affect his decision making. In fact, Our Number 14's demeanor makes him one strong man. A Person that earns the respect of others just by being himself.

Manny did not back down in either of the interviews with Harlan and Ladson. He explained his reasoning and why he doesn't throw chairs. Why he has earned his players' respect as well.

Nothing better than this quote in The Washington Post Interview concerning criticisms toward Mr. Acta keeping his emotions mostly in check:

Everybody is entitled to their opinion. But if I would have been a loose cannon here, then I would have had a lot of criticism, too, for being a loose cannon. I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to keep everybody happy.......I'm not going to change because of people's perceptions. This is who I am. This is what I think is going to work, and this is what has worked for me, and I'm not going to change just because a few people think I should be yelling and throwing stuff around and screaming. I know when I'm happy, and when I'm not happy, I let them know that. I just don't have to let them know in front of the cameras.

and then Manny added later:

I give players space. I let them have their own space. I don't need to be in their locker room all day and in their faces. I need to give them space. That's why I draw a line. I have a good atmosphere for them over here, and they respect me and I respect them. I don't need to be hanging out with them all of the time. They know that I'm behind them. And that's all I care about. I really could care less about what other people think about me. I'm dead serious.

Manny Acta let's his players relax, be themselves, and truly feels Washington's Roster will play for him--because he doesn't stand in their way. He's only there to help them--support them.

And then this doozy later in the same Post interview on the perception that Our General Manager Jim Bowden has made Manny a "Yes Man":

...we have a strictly professional relationship. I don't go for the holidays to his house, and he doesn't come for the holidays to mine. We have a strictly professional relationship. But we haven't done anything different, me and him, than we did last year.


And he knows that I'll tell him what I think about everything he asks me. I'm not going to tell him what he wants to hear, and we respect each other because of that. I have no problem with Jim running this team.

Manny followed that up with this:

......I wasn't brought over here because I was like Jim. I don't think that was his intention. I was brought over here to manage this baseball team, get the best out of these young kids and make them better. Not to agree with everybody here from top to bottom.

Love It!! Manny is his own person. He doesn't walk to someone elses beat.

The Washington Post Interview, along with the Nationals.com Interview give a good feel about what Manny Acta is all about. An Inner Confidence with Beliefs, the same top qualities The African Queen and I have found inside Our Number 14 from the very first day we ever met him.

We hope he is Our Manager for a Long, Long, Time. You can always quibble over a few things: strategy, game decisions, lineups, it's baseball. But you can't take away the extraordinary value Manny Acta brings to the field each and everyday representing Our Washington Nationals. He is worth keeping in the fold for years to come.

Manny Acta is truly The Calm Amidst A Storm.

PS--There was one interesting comment in The Ladson Interview concerning Lastings Milledge and Centerfield. There is no question I have written that I feel Our Number 44 is better suited to play a corner outfield position.

Manny responded to Ladson's question about changes with an interesting answer:

...I think the biggest question that is still out there is the Milledge situation. I'm going to clear that up for everybody right now: We allowed this kid to play center field this whole season. That's what we promised. That's because he is the only guy out of all the outfielders that is set to be here for years to come.

We know maybe one or two guys can play a better center field right now for this team, but the future of those guys in this organization is uncertain because some of them have to prove that they are going to be fine on and off the field. We didn't feel like moving Milledge around and he understands that. It was explained to everybody here. When the moment arrives and we do find a better option, it will be dealt with.

My first reaction is that Manny is stating that no matter how talented Elijah Dukes is, Our Washington Nationals still do not fully know whether Our Number 34 can get past his personal history. This answer one of the most compelling given in the two interviews. Where will this story end?

That and the very fact Manny also believes Washington needs legitimate Number 1 & Number 2 Starters to allow Our Young Pitchers to grow without being rush. He wants them to arrive in The Major Leagues, ready to pitch, not learning on the job. The same point written about the other day in Taking Stock.


Anonymous said...

The Victorians were extraodinarily sentimental, and this age is more realistic (or cynical). But, with that in mind, Kipling may have been on to something. If, by Rudyard Kipling The poem begins "If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you"

SenatorNat said...

Winning cures everything, of course, while losing curses everything. I want to feel the same way about Manny that you do, SBF, but there is definitely an edge there, a defensive quality, and a bit of a surly quality to his responsives. Concur that he was VERY forthcoming about Dukes - I did not like the intonation, actually, however realistic it might be.

Manny is just a tad too stoical at the moment.

Trust in Gil Hodges' number. All to be revealed.

Anonymous said...

I've always liked Manny and these recent pieces have only reinforced that.

An Briosca Mor said...

Manny's attitude of continued skepticism regarding Dukes is entirely appropriate. True, and to his credit, Elijah did make it through the season without getting in trouble off the field and with only a couple of very minor incidents on the field. But remember, he was subject to 24/7 surveillance and supervision by a handler employed by the team. In order to become a long-term piece of the puzzle, he needs to prove that he can survive and even succeed without the handler. Presumably this offseason will be his first opportunity to demonstrate that he can do that. Until he proves it by doing it, a certain degree of skepticism and caution regarding him will always be warranted.

Anonymous said...

Not relevant but interesting comment: Teams eliminated list-
1. Washington (8/31)
2. Seattle (9/1)
3. Pittsburgh (9/6) *
3. San Diego (9/6) *
5. Baltimore (9/8)
6. Oakland (9/8)
7. Atlanta (9/9)
8. Kansas City (9/9)
9. Cincinnati (9/10)
10. Texas (9/13)
11. Detroit (9/15)
12. San Francisco (9/17)
13. Colorado (9/18)
14. Cleveland (9/19)
15. Toronto (9/21)
16. New York Yankees (9/23)
17. St. Louis (9/23)
18. Florida (9/23)
19. Arizona (9/25)
20. Houston (9/26)
21. New York Mets (9/28)
22. Minnesota (9/30)

* - Teams eliminated at same time

Anonymous said...

Manny Acta, the calm amidst the storm? I am not so sure. His personally selected coaches were fired, and not by him. He will now have to accept coaches that he did not choose. It appears to me that he is on thin ice with Bowden and Kasten. He probably will get one more season to produce, otherwise he will be gone too.