MACHA WATCH: May 27, 2010 Edition.

Or, for reasons that will soon become clear, I'm going to AKA this one the "GO GET YOUR SHINEBOX!" Edition.

We learned a couple of things during the last week, with none more important than this: Ken Macha has a very, very powerful (and very, very mustachioed) ally in his corner.  As a result, we've got to upgrade Cap'n Poppycock's chances of manning the ship this week:

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After the jump: your weekly dose of baseless speculation, with a healthy dose of @notkenmacha (for the fiber).

This Week's Vote of Confidence / Kiss of Death: On Saturday, perhaps no doubt keenly aware that a very popular and highly influential fan-run Milwaukee Brewers' blog had started the countdown on Ken Macha's days at the helm, Mark "Seriously, I'm Not Related To That Guy In Phish" Attanasio publicly came to the defense of his embattled skipper.  Er, sort of:

"I can tell you unequivocally, we are not making a manager change on Monday," Attanasio said. "So there will be no news on Monday. We can lose the next two games, 15-3, and we’re not making a manager change.

"Doug needs to make those decisions and Doug’s been pretty firm in his support of Ken so I’m going to fall in line. ... I talk to Doug every day. We’re in sync on this."

Emphasis mine.

This "I'm going to fall in line" talk caught me off guard, especially given Attanasio's prominent role in the dismissal of the Brewers' previous manager.  At this point, I think it's widely assumed, if not accepted, that Attanasio was the man behind The Gassing of Ned Yost (coming to an off-Broadway location near you, soon!) back in aught-eight, despite the fact that Melvin didn't see the point in dethroning King Ned with a handful of games left in the season.

Now, Attanasio's comments notwithstanding, I don't believe for a second that Attanasio wants to keep Macha for the rest of the year.  An $80+ million team that dropped nine in a row, including six consecutive games at home, with an owner who's apparently got a bit of Steinbrenner in him, is going to stick with the same lame-duck skipper while the season circles the drain?  Sorry. Not buying it.

This, of course, means that Attanasio was talked out of canning Macha, and that Melvin took the stand he was unwilling to take when Yost was fired.  In my mind, that conversation went something like this:

Mark A.: "Y'know Doug, I think we need to do something. I think Ken needs to go."
Doug: "Mark, don't take this the wrong way, but you're a ****ing casual. Trust me to do my job.  We're not firing Macha."
Mark A.: "Oof."
Doug: "Now that we're on the same page, you're going to put out a press release. Tell these *********** *****-****** ************* to get off my back.  But don't use the term '*********** *****-****** *************.'  That's offensive."
Mark A.: "OK, Doug.  Anything else?"
Doug: "No, that should cover it.  Wait, sorry -- there's one more thing: go home and get your ****ing shinebox!"

And: scene.

For those of you wondering if / hoping that there's going to be a change at GM this season (or in the next off-season), I wouldn't hold your breath.

This Week in "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum": As astute baseball commentator RobertArthur noted in this FanShot last week, Macha didn't order, endorse, or approve of Alcides Escobar's no-out, top-of-the-first sacrifice bunt in last Wednesday's game against Pittsburgh.  Aside from the "didn't you talk about this in spring training?" questions, here's my concern: if memory serves, Alcides attempted to bunt on the first pitch, but didn't get it down.  He then bunted again on the second pitch.  Don't we have a "don't bunt" sign that the third-base coach could relay to our precocious shortstop in between the first and second pitches?  Hell, pantomime a guy bunting, and then wave your arms back and forth furiously in the universally-understood "DON'T DO THAT!" motion.  And, sure, that might have given away our strategy, but c'mon, we were playing the Pirates.  It's not like they're competent enough to steal signs, even one that obvious.

This Week in "Stand by Your Man": There was much hand-wringing last weekend over Macha's failure to get hisself tossed from Friday's game against the Twins, when home plate overcompensated hall monitor umpire Ed Rapuano bullrushed Dave Bush because he (Rapuano) felt that Bush was showing him up after a couple of close calls went against Bush.  Many hoped that Macha would have taken the approach of, say, Ozzie Guillen, who, as he's wont to do, went ballistic last night when Joe West called a balk on ChiSox starter Mark Buehrle. 

My take?  I think Macha would have needed to body slam Rapuano to get tossed from that game.  Rapuano had to know that he crossed the line when he went after Bush, so he gave Macha a longer-than-normal rope.  Still, if it took a running clothesline to get run from the game ...

This Week in "I've Got You Under My Skin": But wait!  There's more mountain-out-of-a-molehill hullabaloo this week, as Macha reportedly had a "meltdown" when asked about his job security by WISN-TV's Andy Kendeigh.

Folks: if that was a "meltdown," it was on the level of a Jell-O pudding pop sitting in the sun.  THE MAN USED THE WORD "POPPYCOCK," FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.  If you can find a tamer "meltdown," I'd like to see it.  (As an aside: way to follow that whole "don't make yourself a part of the story" thing, Andy Kendeigh.  Could you have mentioned that YOU asked Macha the offending question twelve more times in that video clip?)

To paraphrase Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee: "That's not a meltdown.  THIS is a meltdown."  (Not even remotely SFW.)

This Week in @notkenmacha: Of course, to be able to fairly assess the job a manager is doing, you need to see the manager working with his full arsenal of players.  With roughly 2/3 of the roster on the DL at this point, that's becoming a more difficult task.  Yesterday came the news that Gregg Zaun is possibly done for the rest of the year.  I asked @notkenmacha for his reaction.  He didn't disappoint:

 

That's a great question Reggie, I can give you a clear and concise response for your readers. Of course you know that Jason Kendall's contract expired in 2009, so Doug Melvin needed to sign us a catcher for 2010.

I am well aware that Jason Kendall was one of the most beloved Brewers of all-time, right up there with Brewer legends Tim Johnson and Rick Auerbach. I will probably lose a few fans in Milwaukee for saying this, but I really got the impression that Jason Kendall was terrible at baseball. In November of aught-9, Doug Melvin, and that guy that looks like Tor Johnson really wanted to sign Jason Kendall to a 4 year extension. Half-jokingly I suggested that the Brewers could find a Canadian that could play catcher better than Kendall. Doug and Tor, mumbled something in Canadian and I didn't hear from those two hosers for about a month.

Flash forward to December 4th, it's 8pm, and I am fast asleep. My phone rings, and Melvin is on the other end, stoned out of his mind. "Hey Kenny" he says, "I got you a catcher, guess who it is?" Admittedly, I was probably a little crabby, and I wanted to get off the phone, so I blurted out: "As long as it isn't Jason Kendall I could give two shits." "It's not Kendall, Kenny, we just signed Gregg F'ing Zaun, baby!!" Turns out, I did give two shits, as I hung up the phone, but not before I screamed "He is 50 years old, and he will be hurt by June you stupid humps!"

I know I may come off a little hard on the Canadians from time to time -- but the truth is that I am the only player in the history of professional baseball to play in every Canadian providence, starting with by stint in the Yukon Territory Exploratory League back in '59, then of course the Expos and Blue Jays during the end of my playing days. Needless to say our neighbors to the north, view Ken Macha as a legend. In fact the band RUSH wrote a song about me, "Today's Ken Macha" - you may know that song as it is played by American transistor radio as "Tom Sawyer."

RUSH was a struggling Anne Murray tribute/cover band, and while they were nice enough guys, they were clearly terrible at producing listenable music. Their lead singer, Geddy Lee was a huge baseball fan, in fact, a few years later he would donate a huge collection of Negro League memorabilia to the museum in KC. Geddy invited me to the studio to listen to this song they had just produced ... and it clearly sucked shit. Not wanting my name to be associated with this monstrosity, I quickly suggested that they name the song "Tom Sawyer." Tom Sawyer was a manager I had back in '61 that benched me for some guy that was "more talented", and it seemed fitting to hang this song on that asshole.

As I was leaving the studio, they had me listen to this other song called "YYZ." Not many people know that YYZ is the airport code for the terminal in Toronto. RUSH had intended YYZ to be a tribute to all of the stand-up comedians that had written airport jokes in the early 80's. You know the gags, "My bag of peanuts is too small", "The in-flight movie sucks", and "people are bringing on waaaay too much carry-on. What is up with that?" I hate stand up comedy, and as I was walking out of the studio, I turned off Geddy Lee's microphone, and as far as I know the song has remained an instrumental to this day.

Baseballingly Yours.

Ken Macha

PS. Here is a video of YYZ. These guys are terrible.

PSS. Tony Curtis sucks.

 

Likelihood that Ken Macha is fired before June 3, 2010: 3%.


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