Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Just about every Indians player that spoke to the media Friday about the firing of now former manager Manny Acta says the blame for Acta’s firing rests totally on them.
Acta was fired on Thursday afternoon by GM Chris Antonetti, as the Indians prepare for the final six games of the 2012 season at home vs the Royals and White Sox.
Players have already had to put up with one coaching shake-up in 2012 with the firing of pitching coach Scott Radinsky, and now they have had to say good-bye to their manager as well.
“Unfortunately the way things go you figured something was going to happen at some point, maybe in the offseason,” Indians pitcher Justin Masterson said. “You never enjoy seeing someone get fired, but that’s part of the business aspect.”
Antonetti took the podium on Thursday and admitted that blame falls on him as well, but Friday it was players turn to say their lack of wins (Indians are at 65-91 entering Friday’s game) is what caused the Indians to make the move.
“A lot of the blame rests right here in the clubhouse, all of it does, we’re the players,” Indians closer Chris Perez said. “He’s not out there making pitches, missing ground balls anything like that, it’s us.”
The Indians season has been a disaster, this after a decent enough start saw them sitting between first and third up until July.
After that, the bottom dropped out, and despite votes of confidence from Antonetti and even owner Paul Dolan, it was not enough to save Acta from the inevitable – being canned.
“Coaches coach and players play, and it’s unfortunate that when your in the leadership aspect of it, sometimes you have to take the fall for players,” Masterson said.
The Indians across the board have been terrible in a number of statics in 2012, but were able to cover it up for the first few months of the season, but eventually it caught up with them.
As late as July 26th, the team was 50-49 and only 3.5 games out of first. After that, the team lost 24 of 29 games, which is when the rumors started to pop up about Acta.
Even with the rumors being hot and heavy, it still took the players a bit by surprise Thursday.
“It was a surprise for me, I know a lot of rumors come out when you play bad, but as soon as it happens it’s a surprise to everybody,” Indians RF Shin-Soo Choo said. “I think he tried to do the best he could.”
In the end though, the players seemed to like the manager that many player under for the last two and a half seasons. Most said they will think of fond memories of Acta, and enjoyed playing under him.
“I think the players have a lot of responsibility over the wins and losses,” second basemen Jason Kipnis said. “They are the ones that are pitching, hitting. I had a good relationship with him, definitely like the guy and wish him nothing but the best.”
The accountability factor that all the players hit on seems to show that the Indians front office needs to make some major changes in the talent this offseason.
It can’t just be the managers fault, something that Perez pointed out, and as we all know by now, he’s not afraid to speak his mind on the subject.
“Some of his managerial techniques and stuff may not have been the best in the long run, but at the end of the day it doesn’t cost us ball games,” Perez said. “At the end of the day it’s execution and pitches, at the end of the day it’s the accumulation of talent, and at the end of the day, he’s got to take the blame for that.”
He being Acta, along with Antonetti, President Mark Shapiro, and the Dolans, who now face the fans who demand this team do something to get better and challenge in the AL Central.