Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brewers Name Macha New Manager

O.K., I know the season is over but I will make some occasional baseball posts such as when the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVPs are announced in each league, significant trades or free agent signings and, of course, changes in managerial personnel.

With respect to the latter, the Milwaukee Brewers have named Ken Macha as their manager for the 2009 season. In 2008, the Brewers reached the postseason for the first time since 1982. On September 15th, after losing 11 of 15 games and falling out of the lead for the NL Wild Card, the Brewers fired manager Ned Yost and third base coach Dale Sveum was named interim manager. The Brewers went 7-5 under Sveum. Not earth shattering but good enough to win the NL Wild Card. The Brewers were eliminated by the Philadelphia Phillies in the best of five NLDS, 3-1. As we know, the Phillies went on to win the World Series.

I'm surprised the Brewers didn't stick with Sveum given that they reached the postseason. But Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Sveum shortly after the NLDS elimination that he wanted a more experienced manager. Melvin came close to hiring Macha prior to the 2003 season but opted for Yost. Macha instead became manager of the Oakland Athletics in 2003 where he served for four seasons. The Athletics won the AL West under his tutelage in 2003 and 2006. However, the Athletics were eliminated in the ALDS in 2003 by the Boston Red Sox after leading 2-0 and were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 ALCS. The latter defeat cost Macha his job in Oakland. For the past two seasons, Macha has been an occasional pre-game and post-game studio analyst for NESN's Red Sox TV broadcasts.

Macha is generally considered calm and even tempered compared to the volatile disposition of Ned Yost. For a relatively young ball club and one that often reflected Yost's volatility (i.e. when Prince Fielder accosted Manny Parra in the dugout during a Brewers-Reds game) Macha might be just what the Brewers need. On the other hand, it might also help if they can re-sign C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets.

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