Author's note: The original plan this week was to run MACHAWATCH! on Wednesday afternoon, but that plan was scuttled when @notkenmacha told me that he was too busy "teaching these slapnuts the proper technique for using a bayonet in close quarters." Anyway, because MW! was going to run a day early, I had this Robo-Looper awesome intro all ready to go -- complete with a tortured, elaborate comparison of an Early MW! to Al Escobar playing right field and batting lead-off.
Alas, it was all for naught. I know you're as devastated as I am.
Moving on: I've run out of ways to say that the 2010 Brewers take one step forward and two steps back: after sweeping the white-flag wavin' Houston Astros, the Crew dropped three of four to the tent-foldin' Arizona Diamondbacks. So, consider this the Choose Your Own Adventure portion of MACHAWATCH!: this week, the Brewers continued to (tread water / march in place / dick around / etc, etc, etc) in their wasted 2010 season, and the nullacct ManagerometerTM didn't budge:
After the jump: the cynic's take on why a struggling team fires its manager; Ken's concerned about the 'pen; and, of course, @notkenmacha.This Week in Why A Struggling Team Fires Its Manager: In this week's edition of the SBN Power Rankings, Jeff Sullivan offered three reasons why a struggling team fires its manager in-season: (1) skip lost the clubhouse; (2) skip and the front office aren't seeing eye-to-eye (on things like who should be playing, the batting order, etc.); (3) the team needs a new voice in the clubhouse.
Your humble author submits that Jeff missed the three primary reasons why a struggling team fires its manager:
(1) Because the GM's ass is on the line, too, and he's trying to throw up a smokescreen. You can't fire the players, as the old cliche goes, but you sure as hell can fire the guy who brought in the players -- and if that appears to be a possibility, Team X's GM might gas the manager and trot out the: "We like the guys we have, we just didn't think that Manager X was the guy to lead them" line.
(2) Because the owner is crazy / came into the season with grossly unrealistic expectations. See, e.g., the Guy in Florida, who gift-wrapped Fredi Gonzalez for the Braves because he (the Guy in Florida) was miffed that his $25-million team wasn't contending for a Wild Card spot ... two months into the season.
(3) Because we need something to get the turnstiles moving -- however slightly -- and we're not going to make any blockbuster trades and we don't have any superduperstar prospects at AAA. Sure, we're going to be trotting out the same lackluster lineup -- but the players might be batting in a slightly different order! Just look at Kansas City: as hard as it is for me to admit, Ned Yost puts butts in the seats.
This Week in Rhymes and Reasons: After leaving David Bush to give up four consecutive homers in yesterday's 8-2 loss to the Diamondbacks, Ken Macha was asked if he considered removing The Bulldog at any point in the back-to-back-to-back-to-back supernova. Retorted K-Mach:
"We’re right in the game," Macha said. "I don’t want to run everybody out of the bullpen. … He wound up getting out of the inning with just that damage and pitched a good fifth, too.
"Giving up them home runs you want to yank him out of there, sure, but it’s still early in the game. We had a long way to go. You’ve got to restrain yourself. You can’t just run through the bullpen."
This struck me as kind of odd, considering that Macha's, you know, run through the bullpen for the whole year up to this point. I haven't checked the stats today, but I believe that Kameron Loe has pitched in every game since he was recalled from AAA at the beginning of June, and Manny Parra hasn't pitched seven innings since he was inserted into the rotation -- not really Macha's fault, of course, since Parra's the one throwing 110 pitches in 5.2 innings time and time again -- and Chris Narveson's pitch counts have been 73-87-87-103-78-97-94 in his last seven starts (only two of which were real clunkers), and Chris Capuano has only pitched out of the 'pen in 12 games since being promoted to the big-league club ... I don't know. On Macha's List of Concerns, I didn't think "running through the 'pen" ranked very high.
Someone smarter than me needs to look at this, A Beautiful Mind-style, and tell me what the pattern is, because I don't see it.
This Week in @notkenmacha: Our phony skipper got a new toy this week, as Doug Melvin swapped Jim Edmonds and his achin' Achilles for 28-year-old outfielder Chris Dickerson. I asked @notkenmacha if he was excited to have another fourth outfielder on his roster. He said:
Your constant barrage of questions are starting to get on my nerves, especially when you should be well aware that an American institution is coming to a close. The comic strip Cathy is going to cease publication.
Now don't get me wrong, I think today's comic strips are pure drivel, but it wasn't always that way. Comics used to provide the nation's youth their first taste of the impending darkness and despair that lurked around the corner as they became adults. Back in 1959, I was playing in the Yukon Territory Winter League, and subsequently I had a couple of free months in the summer. I paid my rent and fueled my hashish habit by drawing comics for our local newspaper.
I felt that the nation's youth needed a break from the Vietnam War, so I decided to draw a comic structured around my interpretations of the Book of Revelations by Jill St. John. I called it "Family Circus." Family Circus is the story of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in their prepubescent years, before they would unleash hell on Earth. The Horsemen were represented by four button-nosed children: Billy (Pestilence), Dolly (Death), Jeffy (Elmer Layden) and P.J. (Poppycock). The Horsemen were the inbred offspring of the son and daughter (Bill and Thelma) of Satan (the dead grandpa that is always haunting people in dream sequences). I wanted to tell the story of Bill and Thelma as they were preparing and nurturing their children to obliterate mankind from this planet.
My new comic strip was doing well, however in 1960 the Eureka Goldpanners needed a third string catcher, so I had turn my strip over to this dipshit named Bill Keane. Keane took my story designed to prepare the nation's youth for the onslaught that awaited them, into a mindless story about children taking indirect paths to their destinations, messy rooms, and bossy big sisters. Whenever I read Family Circus these days, I shake my head and I feel as if I understand Manny Parra just a little bit more, as he is getting taken to Poundtown.
A few years later, I was approached by the local Shopper's Stopper to draw a strip centered around the adventures of a single adult woman struggling with day-to-day issues like buying swimsuits, vapidness, and eating yogurt. It occurred to me that this woman would need to be homely, overweight and slow of mind, as an attractive and smart woman would have been married and impregnated, or working as a secretary.
With this strip, I decided to tackle the sexual revolution in Europe, and entitled the pilot strip "The Erotic Full Frontal Adventures of the Unmarried and Simple Cathy." I felt I did a great job introducing the character in the first panel, and properly developed the character in the 2nd and 3rd panels. Unfortunately Gus from the Shopper Stopper felt otherwise and fired me from my position.
So excuse me if I weep a little as a chapter in my life closes. However don't cry for Kenneth, or for that trollop Cathy for that matter, as I really despise what she has become. In fact I hope that the last "AAKKKKKK" that she utters, is her death-rattle as she falls head-first into the deep fat fryer during the third shift at a Denny's.
P.S. Tony Curtis Sucks
P.S.S. With regard to your question about the "4th outfielder" -- A fourth outfielder is a lot like the fourth dimension, you only really need it if you plan on traveling through time.