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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

For Pete's sake

I just finished up my Reds Insider for the paper (available on newsstands throughout the Tristate beginning about 3 a.m. tomorrow). Anyway, I fearlessly predict that Pete Mackanin will be the Reds manager in 2008.

Of course, two big ifs are involved: a) Mackanin has to keep winning -- a September swoon will do him in; b) Tony LaRussa has to not want the job.

I think the Reds will make a run at LaRussa. If he turns down the job -- and I think he will -- the club will have to weigh Mackanin against guys like Joe Girardi and Bob Brenly. If Mackanin has something like a 45-35 record over 80 games, my guess if he gets a one-year contract.

Feel free to tell me I'm nuts.


29 Comments:

at 2:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your absolutely nuts. Pete is definitely in the running, but I put him third behind LaRussa and Girardi. If they pass Pete will be the guy, then Wayne's feet will be held to the fire. This is Wayne's big hire, and he will not mess it up.

 
at 2:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John - I'm wondering, is the Reds' winning ways really a result of Pete or is it the law of averages finally catching up (i.e. they're really not as bad as they were playing)?

If it's Pete, what's he doing differently than Narron?

 
at 2:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, if it wasn't for recent history, you'd be exactly right. However, because of the last two interim situations, I think there's little chance of the next manager being anyone other than a "big name" manager.

Chad

 
at 2:44 PM Blogger Jaybee said...

I think it makes good baseball sense. The hard question will be if ownership can sell it to the fanbase and those in the media clamoring for a "big name." I like what Mackanin has done with what he's had to work with. I think he is a winner.

 
at 2:44 PM Blogger docproc said...

No, you're not nuts--I think you have it exactly right--IF (and that's a big IF) both of your conditions are met.

I've really grown to like Pete Mac and his managerial style. Here's hoping it's a September boon, not swoon.

 
at 2:46 PM Anonymous Sedi said...

I guess the question is, do you think Pete is the reason they are performing at the level or, is that they finally are playing to a level that people anticipated at the beginning of the season. While I think he's doing a terrific job, I'm wondering if it's worth hiring another interim manager, looking at past results....If they sign, then a 1 yr contract won't suffice, we as Red's fans will still be sitting saying "here we go again". If they're going to commit, it needs to be longer than 1 year.

 
at 2:55 PM Blogger Marie830 said...

Don't think you're nuts, but I don't think Pete will be the Reds manager next year.
First, I think that LaRussa will take the job if given the right situation, i.e control, money...
Second, I agree that Pete is a better choice than Brenley and Girardi, but there are other big name, experienced managers out there, Dusty Baker, Jerry Manuel and I think Tony Pena is a good match for this team.
I just can't see Cast re-hiring the interim manager three times in a row, especially when it had such bad results the last two times.

 
at 2:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's another "if" ... if Pete wants the job. If the team maintains this win percentage under Pete and has a strong finish, he might be courted by other teams.

I assume Pete and Wayne get along, but there have been several times where a bit of a "I just work here" attitude came through in Pete's comments on player moves. If the relationship isn't working, then, the "if" I mention above would be more in play.

 
at 2:58 PM Blogger dmiller9500 said...

John, trying to predict what this front office will do is an imposssible task. Just think if they would have fired Narron when they should have in late May. They would probably be with in 3-4 games right now.

 
at 3:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't call you nuts, but I hope I'm calling you wrong in a few months. I've patiently reserved judgment on the Castellini / Krivsky regime thus far, but if they're really going to hire another interim manager whose had a successful half season, I'll be extremely disappointed. Miley and Narron got off to good starts when they took over in mid-season, then the novelty of their arrival wore off the following season. I've seen nothing to make me believe it will be any different with Pete Mackanin because he comes across as too laid back. I wish him well as a ML manager, but I don't think his laid back style is what the Reds need.

 
at 3:01 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Sedi: I elaborate in the piece for paper. But the biggest thing is Mackanin is getting more out of the players like Burton and Valentin that Narron did. Having Bray and Majewski healthy helps. So did adding Keppinger.

 
at 3:10 PM Anonymous T-Mac said...

It will be interesting to see what feedback Wayne will seek from the players (if any). I have to assume they would have some say regarding their feelings on playing for Pete and his style. Given the improvement, I would think they would prefer Pete to stay. Then again, we are all nuts trying to speculate what Wayne is thinking.

 
at 3:11 PM Blogger docproc said...

Pete also doesn't seem intimidated by the "stars" on the team. He gave Dunn a rest last night, only hours after Dunn hit a game-winning homer. He's done the same with Griffey--and he and Junior seem to know how to joke with each other. That's no small thing.

 
at 3:27 PM Anonymous redsMD said...

just an interesting thing to think. Baltimore Orioles start beating their big opponents Red Sox and Yankees, show up one the best pitcher in the league. And the interim manager who got good records after all-star got next year permanent job. What happened may be all knows. After announcement, Orioles record lost 3:30 and three in a row. Something going on, better to have closed/secret pole among the players, not fans.

 
at 3:29 PM Anonymous Devon said...

Why are the Reds so intent on having Tony LaRussa as manager?

I think some of his tactics, i.e. batting the pitcher 8th, would not fly with the Reds.

 
at 3:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Girardi has no chance to get this job. You heard it here first.

Pete may end up getting a better deal from another team with what he has shown over the last 6-7 weeks.

 
at 3:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dusty Baker was run of out Chicago after wasting four years with the Cubs. No one will pay him $4mil per year to chew toothpicks in the dugout again.

 
at 4:42 PM Blogger Dan H said...

Right now Mackanin is managing as if he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. His moves are made to win rather than moves made not to lose. If he gets the job will he manage the same way next year as he is today? With the past two failures of hiring the interim manager I have my doubts if they will make it a third. This hiring will be Krivsky and Mr.Castellini's biggest statement on the francise during their tenure so far. They cannot afford to make a mistake. Personally, I'd rather see Mackanin over a Girardi or Baker. Brenly is a possibility. Would LaRussa be able to work with Krivsky-that is a tough question. John any opinion on Larussa-Krivsky relationship?

 
at 4:47 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I don't know that they have one. I would expect LaRussa to have a good deal of say on players if he agreed to come here.

 
at 5:08 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Jeez, Pete Mackanin has done a great job for 46 games. What was Narron's record last year in April and May before the wheels fell off? Lets wait and see, at least til the end of the season. I didn't give Mackanin a chance in hell to get the job permanently, but I think he has managed his way into consideration. Narron, Miley and Boone were three of the worst managers in baseball history, lets not rush into another mistake. If LaRussa and Yawkey would come here as a package, that would be fantastic. There is an idiot on the radio right now clammering to give Pete a two year contract right now. Why on earth would you do that?

 
at 6:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect Pete does not want a contract right now, given what happened in Baltimore. Am I right, John? Has he said that to the writers? He appears to be very disciplined and in control of his emotions. I'm convinced Pete's had a tremendous influence on the team's recent excellent performance.

 
at 7:01 PM Blogger Jeff said...

John, I sure hope you are right. Mac has done an outstanding job, and comparing him with Narron and Mile is unfair. Narron was 46-46 as an interim manager, and Miley was 22-35. Pete is 8 over .500. If he can get to 15 over, you have to give him the job.

 
at 7:23 PM Blogger Jim said...

Pets's done a good job but he should not be given the job next year no matter what happens the rest of the season. The last 3 managers hired by the Reds have been guys that would not have been hired as a manager by any other team in baseball. If Castellini wants to have any credibility with the fans, then he needs to hire a big name manager. Say what you will about Larussa, he's a winner, and that will fly in Cincinnati.

 
at 11:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a comparison of Mackanin's record with Miley's and Narron's first partial seasons.

It's deja vu all over again, as Yogi would say. "The players respond to him," they are saying. "He's more of a play-the-right-way kind of a guy," they add. "Fundamentals. It's all about doing the little things." Oh yeah. "He's a baseball guy." Gee, sound familiar?

We heard it with Miley. We heard it with Narron. We are hearing it with Mackanin. Exactly the same stuff. Exactly.

Change the names and the story writes itself, John. You're welcome.

The difference between Miley, Narron and Mackanin is, Miley had 25+ years of loyalty to the organization and had won at every level of management within the Reds organization from the bottom on up. He's now managing Triple AAA Scranton/WB for the Yankees and has 'em 5 games in first in the International League North.

Whatever else you might say about Mackanin, he's no Dave Miley. Nor is Narron. But that ship has left the harbor.

Now it's time to "try a different direction." You hear that quote tossed around a lot when somebody gets canned. "We're going to go in a different direction." Then they go in the exact same direction.

Let's try actually going in a different direction for a change, see how that works. The Cubs already grabbed Sweet Lou (and oh gee, they're in first place, raise your hand if you're shocked). I think Davey Johnson's available. Marge won't object.

 
at 11:36 PM Anonymous Gary214 said...

Here is what I don't understand...how do the naysayers justify saying Mac shouldn't get the job because of the Miley/Narron situations not working? These are the same people clamoring for a Girardi who has coached ONE YEAR and was fired; or a Brenly who won a World Series with arguably the 2 best starters in baseball that year...but was fired when he couldn't win without said pitchers!
What does Miley/Narron have to do with Mac? You want to use that as justification for not giving him the job for a year. If the guy finishes the year out strong, he deserves the chance!! If I am not mistaken, Sparky came out of nowhere to become a championship caliber mananger...what's to say that this isn't the right time and situation for Mac to be successful?
As for LaRusso, I'm not sure about that one. The guy has been successful working in a baseball crazed city that has had the luxury of an ownership group that historically gives him the talent he needs to compete...sometimes at at a very high price. Will that be his situation here?
Give it to Mac!!! And spend the money you would save by NOT bringing in the aforementioned choices on the pieces Mac needs to make HIM successful!

 
at 11:49 PM Anonymous Tom said...

If the Reds don't hire Pete Mackanin then I sure hope he hooks up as manager with another ML club. This guy has managerial qualities, especially a sense of humor and the ability to talk to these overpaid prima donnas. Let's not forget that Sparky Anderson was a relatively unknown when he took over for Dave Bristol in 1970. But if it's not to be, then please anybody but Mr. 'Oh It's So Difficult To Smile' Larussa.

 
at 1:36 AM Anonymous gmirones@yahoo.com said...

John Fay;

Your fearless prediction could be right. The issue is who the position players on the field are. Let’s say that “Honus Wagner” (Jeff K.), Brandon P., Josh H., Ken G., are set in position, the needs still exists for a catcher, first-baseman, third-baseman. I have not mentioned Mr. left-fielder as he may be with an another team in trade for a starting pitcher (I would like to see Dontrell W). I also believe that the return of Ryan F. to the Reds will only be a utility role. The team has been playing better without his “hustle”. The choice of a manager will also depend on how much control the candidate will want over the players who play. The role of the manager with today’s player is less hands-on and more leadership and decision making. I believe that the coaching staff, pitching to be specific, will need to be looked at no matter who the manager is. Baseball is organizationally a “good old boys club” so breaking this mold would require a different view of the game. Every year folks move around within the Major League s but very few actually ever are just pushed out of the system. Maybe Ted Power should be in a major league dugout instead of our current pitching coach. In the real world the results are your bible and the current pitching coach does not have a lot of accomplishments to hang his hat on. It will always be “What have you done for me lately”. Keep the information coming.

 
at 10:37 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete Mackanin is a terrific guy, has done a good job and should get a chance. But if I may recommend an interesting alternative, try Stan Cliburn. I know, who? Stan is currently manager at Rochester (AAA-Twins) with a wealth of minor league success and a reputation as a winner. Wayne Krivsy knows him well from his time with the Twins. Cliburn is a Casey Stengel throwback and has a great way with players. The Reds could do much worse.

 
at 2:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still very nervous about keeping a guy like Mackanin given our recent history of rewarding interim managers. I did a little research a few days ago and found that after finishing 22-35 after taking over from Bob Bonehead, Miley finished the following season 76-86. The next year he gets canned after starting 27-43. Enter Jerry Narron who finishes the season 46-46. Following season, Reds finish 80-82 while only a late season knocks them out of contention. This year, starts 31-51 and gets fired. Enter Mackanin who has come from out of nowhere and has had this same team playing 10 games over .500 since taking over.

IF for some reason we're still in the race heading into the final weekend of the season, how can Wayne and Bob say no? It's obvious he's doing something right and the players have responded. Is it safe to assume since the arrival of Kepp that this team has been hitting extremely well as of late whereas earlier in the season they were making everyone's worst pitchers looking like CY candidates? Also, the emergence of Burton and Bray and the resurgence of Maj seems to save steadied the bullpen. I think that Mackanin does seem to have an affect given that these new guys have come up in just the past couple of months and that he's set them up to gain the right amount of confidence to go out and perform the way they're expected.

 
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