June 1, 2009

D-[Insert Picket Fence Prop Here]

Today Mark Zuckerman encapsulated everything I've been trying to say about the fan-driven furor for Manny Acta's head. Demonstrating once again why there's still a line between sports bloggers, however knowledgeable and informed, and working journalists who cover the team every day, Zuckerman details the Nats' daily defensive drills. For every blogger, commentor or casual fan who traces the Nats ineptitude to a lack of fundamentals, it's a must read.

To sum up, the Nats can "Drill, Baby, Drill" from now 'til Labor Day, and they'll probably still be a lousy defensive squad. No centerfielder, two largely immobile leftfielders (one playing quite a bit of right) a declining shortstop and a second baseman prone to brain freezes equal errors no matter how many fungoes they field. Now, if you want to be contrarian, I suppose you could say that the lack of improvement reflects as badly on the coaches as the players. It's a fair point, but I'm not aware of a revolutionary new method for teaching outfielders to track the ball off the bat, or reminding Anderson Hernandez when to cover first.

If "Fire Manny!" makes you feel better about watching this undeniably crapbag team, then by all means carry on. Far be it from me to deny any Nats fan whatever small measure of solace they need to stomach donning the Curly W in public. Just don't expect improvement, ok? Firing Acta would be a pure public relations move. And given how bad this franchise is at PR, they'd find a way to screw that up too.

I'm no fan of activity masquerading as progress. In my experience, "change for change's sake" means somebody above you is covering their @##. If Manny, or Randy St. Claire, or any of the coaches, has demonstrated deficiencies that are impairing the ballclub, make the case. Show me somebody else out there who can manage this team better. But no black boxes, please. There are too many moving parts on a 25-man ball club to just point to the end result and say, "They're terrible. Anyone could do better!" That's a cop out.


Dave Nichols said...

well said.

Nate said...

I feel like there's plenty of room on this bandwagon, Dave.