By Matt Van Wormer
On Monday, the Chicago White Sox relieved manager Ozzie Guillen of his duties of leading the south side team. This came after the loud-mouthed Guillen demanded a contract extension. A couple things that are important to this story; First, Guillen still had a year on his current contract that would have taken him through next season. Second, there is still one game left in the 2011 season. Third, Guillen’s team is going to finish under .500. Fourth, this will be the third season in a row that the White Sox are going to miss the playoffs. Does this sound like a man that should be demanding a contract extension?
On the flip side of the coin is Manny Acta, who also has one year remaining on his current contract. Acta has not taken the Indians to the post season in either of the first two years he has been with the club. It remains to be seen if the Indians will even finish with a .500 mark this season. The Indians looked to be the CinderFella’s of the 2011 season as they came storming out of the gates only to see injuries derail what could have been a magical year. Through it all, Manny Acta has kept his team fighting. When they were eliminated from playoff contention, he rallied the troops and told them to battle for second place.
A team that was expected to, at best, finish in the middle of the pack was able to stay in the playoff hunt until the second week of September because of a manager that believed in his team and would not let them quit no matter how many times a key piece of the team got hurt. They didn’t spend a lot of money and didn’t plan on spending any in the near future. They had a manager who many thought would have to make some big waves in 2011 to keep his job. A nose dive in the standings could have spelled doom for Manny Acta. Instead, his team went on a great streak that saw them hold on to first place in the Central Division for over a month.
Another team, which finished just six games out of first place in the Central Division last season, spent quite a bit of money on a big name hitter (Adam Dunn) who was supposed to lead the Sox back to the playoffs and match the glory they reached in 2005. Instead, after winning their first two games of the season convincingly, they fell to the middle of the pack and didn’t rear their ugly heads again until August when they made it a three-team race for a few weeks before heading back to mediocrity.
I think I’ve made it clear in the past that I don’t like Ozzie Guillen but this has to be one of the most asinine things he has ever done. He made himself bigger and more important than the team which, in my opinion, is enough to get him fired. Forget the fact that he wanted to be let go. The way he conducted himself in Chicago for the past eight seasons can best be described as boorish.
Manny Acta has conducted himself with class and integrity from the moment he placed Chief Wahoo on top of his head. When members of the media questioned the hire last year he set out to prove to them, the city and himself that he was the right man for the job. So far, I think he’s done a pretty good job of working with what he’s been given and has done more than expected in his second season at the helm. Next year, the Indians have to take the next step and Manny Acta is just the man to lead them there the right way.
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