Manny Acta knew, as does every manager in baseball, you're hired to get fired.
As the saying goes, that's just the nature of the game. Some way to make a living huh?
Giving someone their walking papers at the All-Star break is also, in some corners, the best time to make a change.
The Nationals' record of 26 and 61 was not acceptable to Manny, Stan Kasten, Mike Rizzo, or anyone in the Lerner organization. Nor should it be.
So after two and a half years as skipper, Manny Acta was let go and replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman, a local guy who grew up in Rockville and has managed at one time the likes of Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman, and Jim Thome.
Remember, Jim did get the Chicago Cubs into the playoffs in 1998. Last year he took over the reins of the Seattle Mariners the second half of the season.
A different voice and a different feel hopefully will result in a successful second half of the season. Those are the wishes of acting GM Mike Rizzo. I might add, it also reflects the wishes of every Nats fan.
One area Jim Riggleman will work on quickly is the reduction of errors after the Nats committed 88 in the first half of the season!
That had to drive Manny crazy. I for one don't think Riggleman will tolerate it either.
One thing about Manny Acta, he never lost his composure with this ballclub. At least not publicly.
Why did it take so long for the club to move in another direction? Stan Kasten put it best. Stan didn't want to do it. He always thought that the club would turn things around; it would get better; the errors would start to decline; the hitting would be more consistent to go along with a fine young pitching rotation. But it never happened.
Only time will tell how things work out from here on in. We all wish Jim Riggleman the best, and that goes for Pat Corrales as well who has been brought back as bench coach.
Mike Rizzo and Stan Kasten have sent some players packing and the clubhouse is now full of more good guys than malcontents. Will there be more to go? Possibly.
We wish Manny well. His departure from the Nats organization showed once again what a class act he is. It is the easiest thing in the world to pile on a ballclub when they're down and struggling as the Nats have been. Nothing can be done to change the numbers from the first half of the season. It is what it is.
But we can look forward with much optimism to a better second half, one in which the Nationals will be starting from scratch.
Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, John Lannan, Nick Johnson, Jim Riggleman...they all need our support. There is only one way to go and that's up right? See you at Nationals Park after the break.