Monday, September 15, 2008

Will Ned Yost's Firing Save The Season For The Brewers?

*Truth be told, I had to delay commenting on this development because I had to finish cooking
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a lasagna.
**Yes ladies, not only am I a writing genius and great lookin', but I can cook too. Drool at will.
***And if anyone's getting any ideas, my fiancee just started to learn kickboxing.

The Brewers must have felt as if they didn't have a choice and it's better late than never. Had they let Yost manage the rest of the season, it's highly unlikely that they would've been able to navigate their way out of this tailspin and Yost would've been fired after the season anyway, so it makes sense to do it now and try someone else to save the season.
It's water under the bridge to continually second-guess Brewers GM Doug Melvin for keeping Yost after last season (and signing him to an extension!) and not firing him earlier in
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this season. In all fairness, Yost didn't build that bullpen, but he did allow the players to get away with fistfighting in the dugout and openly disrespecting him by challenging his handling of the players (that was August, 2007 after which it would have been a better idea to dump Yost). With the deal they made for C.C. Sabathia and the likely last two weeks in a Brewers uniform for not only Sabathia, but Ben Sheets as well, something had to be done. Bench coach Ted Simmons was re-assigned in the organization along with Yost's firing and I'm going to guess that Simmons (a quirky intellectual, and a very smart and loyal guy) was asked to take over as manager and refused, so that leaves them with Dale Sveum.
Sveum was a journeyman player for twelve seasons before managing in the minor leagues for the Pirates and accumulating a 213-211 record over three seasons. He coached third base for the Red Sox (I vaguely remember complaints being lodged about his penchant for
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waving runners home to get thrown out and his lack of skill at the job); then left to be the bench coach and later third base coach for the Brewers. He's in a no-lose situation taking over for Yost because it's either going to work and the team is going to make the playoffs; or it won't. If the team makes the playoffs and Sveum doesn't make any egregious strategic gaffes, he'll get a contract to manage the team next season; if they don't make the playoffs, they're going to be looking for a new manager with a vastly different and weaker team next season.
Will this work? It's impossible to speculate. It's now on the players' shoulders because the manager they weren't playing for is gone. Yost had to go and twelve games remaining or not, the Brewers had to do it now; but will the players respond to Sveum and turn things around in this short time frame? It's convenient that Yost was fired now just as Sabathia is scheduled to pitch tomorrow night against the Cubs, but I don't believe that there was any pretense to the firing; it wouldn't have mattered who was pitching against whom after this non-competitive debacle that the past weekend was for the Brewers in Philadelphia against the Phillies. The players are either going to feel liberated from the constant speculation about Yost's managing skills, or they're going to continue to mail in the rest of the season playing as embarrassingly bad as they did over the weekend.
Their schedule has three games with the Cubs in Chicago starting tomorrow night; three
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with the Reds in Cincinnati; then back home for three with the Pirates and the final three games of the regular season with the Cubs. This favors them after the next three days because the Reds----as dangerous as they are and even though they're still playing hard----are a team the Brewers should handle; then the Pirates are playing out the string and the Cubs will have clinched everything they can clinch by the final weekend; their manager Lou Piniella will be resting his regulars for the playoffs at that point. Worrying about what the Phillies and/or Mets are doing won't help the Brewers one way or the other if they don't take care of their own business and win some games. Even though it was six to twelve months too late, firing Yost was the correct move and the only chance the Brewers have to turn things around while there's still time. And they are tied for the Wild Card lead, so if they win, they'll get in. If not...

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