Wednesday, May 11, 2005

MLB Firing Squad Takes Aim

The Kansas City Royals lost more than their game yesterday in Toronto, manager Tony Pena resigned as well. The Royals lost 3-1 to the Blue Jays, aided by a huge base running blunder by short stop Angel Berroa, who led off the ninth inning with a double, putting the tying run at the plate. He was thrown out at second after Mike Sweeney flied out in center field. The Royals, 8-25, have been known this season for blowing late inning leads and making game costing mistakes and errors.

Apparently Royals fans were not the only ones who were sick of seeing the team perform like this. Pena told the Kansas City Star after last night’s game, ``It's tough to go to the ballpark and lose game after game. I haven't been eating. I haven't been sleeping. I don't want to get sick.''

There was no question that Pena could coach baseball. He was named the AL manager of the year after the 2003 season in which he led the Royals to their first winning season since 1994. Pena was simply a victim of poor ownership and upper management decisions.

Pena was the first of what is expected to be as many as a dozen managers to be replaced this season. Here is our top five managers who could be next to be brought in front of the MLB firing squad.

5. Lou Piniella, Tampa Bay Devil Rays – The Devil Rays are nine games out of first place in the AL east, but they are 5-5 over their last ten games and could sweep the series with the White Sox with a win today. They head to Kansas City tomorrow for a three game series with the Royals. A sweep there could take Piniella off the hot seat.
4. Phil Garner, Houston Astros – After making it to the NL Championship series last season the Astros are struggling this year. They are 3-7 in their last ten games and currently sit eight games out of first place in the NL central.
3. Joe Torre, New York Yankees – Everyone knows the expectations of the Yankees and everyone knows that playing below .500, being in third place, and sitting seven games out of first place don’t measure up to par.
2. Dusty Baker, Chicago Cubs – Baker has struggled getting the Cubs to play up to the expectations that he brought with him from San Francisco. They choked down the stretch last season and they have struggled to start this season. With the cross town rivals White Sox having the best record in MLB the pressure is on for Baker.
1. Clint Hurdle, Colorado Rockies – Next to the Royals, the Rockies are the worst team in baseball. With a record of 8-22 and eleven games out, it’s just a matter of time.

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