It is as natural as the leaves changing colors, as annual as the flowers in your mother's garden. If a team is not performing to it's ability or potential, the manager's seat can start to get warm, maybe even a little hot. It's no big secret that sports is all about the money. The owner's money invested in the particular athletes, their state of the art stadiums, TV networks, player contracts, etc.
The job of a Major League manager has gone far past setting the starting lineups, pitching rotations, and match ups. Modern day baseball squads are filled with egos, divas, and a plethora of cultural differences. The modern manager has to align these egos and motivate its squad to perform. The art of motivating a multi-millionaire athletes is just that an art. They require the ability to deflect the press from the primadonnas in the clubhouse. They need to have a knack for consistent quirky quotes for their local weekly radio show. These are just a few of the new age baseball managerial skills needed to be successful. Below are a few of the gentlemen who's seat maybe getting a little uncomfortable.
John Farrell is serving his second season as Blue Jays skipper, and has not necessarily done a bad job, nor a great job. He earned his 100th win as a manager recently, but that may not be enough to keep Farrell in Canada. The AL East is arguably the toughest division in the league and as it stands, the Blue Jays find themselves in the middle of the pack, a familiar place for Toronto. As the season heats up, so inevitably will the Bronx Bombers, and the Beantown Babies. Ironically, the biggest knock on Farrell is in comparison to the job Baltimore manager Buck Showalter is accomplishing in the same time period. Baltimore has gotten noticeably better in Buck's reign, while Toronto has failed to keep pace with the elite. In a small market, a club has to win NOW. Patience may run out for Mr. Farrell as his modest accomplishments have failed to sell anymore tickets.
Ohhh Bobby Valentine. When the Sox brought the enigmatic Bobby V to town, they were looking for the exact opposite out of him than his predecessor. If Valentine fails it is not due to lack of effort or ability. The failure in Boston lays completely on the shoulders of upper management. The control and power that they have over the roster and Valentine himself have created a difficult, yet interesting working environment. A shake up was needed in that clubhouse and clearly the brass agreed this past winter with the firing of Terry Francona. Second thoughts and an ill conceived plan coupled with injuries may leave Bobby V out in the cold.
One of the most likable guys in the game, Bud Black has been at the helm of the San Diego Padres for six seasons. In that time, he has posted just a .472 winning percentage. Black has seen his best players repeatedly shipped off to larger markets. The Padres have one of the lowest payrolls consistently in the game. When they do bring in a free agent it is not always pretty (ie. Orlando Hudson) leaving Black with a glorified minor league roster. Diminishing ticket sales and a post season berth seemingly to far into the future, could be the catalyst for the Padres to change skippers.
Sitting in last place at this point of the season is the most effective way to end up on the hot seat. Milwaukee Brewers' skipper Ron Roenicke has got to be puzzled with his 2012 club. A division winner a year ago, but Milwaukee is not the same this season. Prince Fielder's departure is a part of but not the sole cause of their struggles. A city with a taste for winning may now be quick to castaway their second year skipper if he fails to live up to the expectations set last season.
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