Cohn: "Bad show as Macha fails to stand up for Zito"
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| By deajay on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 08:41 am:|
"It wasn't a brave scene when the A's got eliminated from the postseason. No bravery by A's manager Ken Macha, not enough by starting pitcher Barry Zito.
Macha was the worst offender, so he deserves most of the ink. The reporters barely had entered his office when he rolled out his excuse for blowing this season. It was Zito's fault. If Macha weren't in an underground bunker he would have screamed it from the roof tops.
This is what Macha said about Zito: 'He said he had enough.' In other words, Zito cried uncle."
And .... "Why was Macha covering his butt? He may be a chronic butt coverer, although it's probably more than that. He's defensive about the public and press criticizing him, goes out of his way to think people have it out for him. The minute Mecir stepped on the mound, Macha was probably planning his excuse in case the roof fell in.
There's even more to his defensiveness. It is difficult for any manager to work for general manager Billy Beane because Beane is demanding and sometimes confrontational. Art Howe and Beane had big time friction, but Howe didn't let that interfere with his managing. At least it didn't seem to.
Not so with Macha. He appears terrified that Beane will think he screwed up. It would be hard to imagine someone like Tony LaRussa or Dusty Baker being afraid of Beane. They'd throw him out of the office if he burst in complaining. They probably wouldn't accept the A's job in the first place. Macha is in no position to throw. Sometimes he sags behind his chair after he's had what you imagine as a tough scene with Billy. And his players almost certainly know Beane gets to him.
Macha's relationship to Beane and his suspicion of the media explain why he fell all over himself blaiming Zito. It's clear Macha never understood what he'd done to Zito -- how he made Zito defend himself.
Before listening to Zito's self-defense, which was moving, it's important to think about Zito himself. Except for some trouble in the sixth, he had pitched well, surrendering only three hits. In the seventh, his last inning, he got the Angels out in order on 12 pitches. A breeze.
So it was surprising when Mecir came out to start the eighth. Think of other pitchers in that situation ... Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax or Roger Clemens come to mind. They'd never excuse themselves from a game when they were going well, even if their legs were tightening, as Zito claimed. They would fight to stay in, would commit murder to stay in. The fact is, Zito did not fight for the ball. Maybe he's a product of this new age in which pitchers are pampered, but it would have been nice at least to see him try.
Even so, Macha put him in a crummy situation. Zito stood by his locker explaining why he left the game ... something Macha should have handled. As he spoke, Zito got hotter and hotter.
'I don't want to debate this,' he said. 'Trust me. You think I'm not going to out there and bust may ass? This shouldn't be an issue.'
He then said something about not wanting to hurt the team, that's why he lifted himself. And then he said, angrily, 'Obviously, the way it turns out I'm the ass around here.'
He meant he was taking the full-frontal blame and it shouldn't be that way."
Well, Cohn could have put Hudson in the Gibson, Clemens group, too. Anyway, this is pretty much most of his column. I am unable to provide an url at this time, as it is not yet online. I would think Cohn could provide other Macha CS moments, too. Yesterday, he did a column on Mulder, which is online at pressdemocrat.com, under sports .. columnists.
| By dorrit on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 08:45 am:|
I feel bad for Zito. And how can you possibly bring Mecir in?!Another year destroyed by idiots.
Cohn is absolutely correct about Macha. It is not the first time he shifts blame to his players.
I remember one interview he gave to Bill King after a pitching fiasco, he blamed Melhuse for the pitching selection and said the latter should have worked more on doing his homework.
This time Macha covered his ass blaming Zito for crying uncle. I heard (David Feldman on Lurie's show) it was Young who told Macha that Zito's legs were cramping. So Macha wasn't even the one who got the information directly from Zito. Once again the absence of Peterson leaves us with the feeling Macha is not competent as a leader.
| By bigthree17 on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 10:13 am:|
Macha is a weenie.
I don't blame Zito at all. Zito showed me a lot of guts yesterday, particularly when he didn't let those two horrible errors cost him. Zito has had trouble all year after he gets to 110+ pitches, so it was a very defensible move to take him out after the 7th. HOWEVER, Macha should have just said, "I thought it was the right time to pull him," and take some ownership of the situations, rather than put it on Zito.
And as much as I hate T-Long, the post-game coverage showed that Macha did indeed walk right past him without saying a word or shaking his hand following Game 5 last year.
Macha is just a horrible, horrible manager of people. Who would want to go to war for this guy? We need a manager that the players will respect.
| By bigthree17 on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 10:14 am:|
BTW, DJ, did you actually re-type that entire column? Wow. That's some dedication.
| By sactodavey on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 10:17 am:|
bigthree have you ever heard of COPY N PASTE?
| By jenmed on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 10:18 am:|
Uh, sacto, DJ just got through saying the article was not yet available online, so she had to have re-typed it.
| By chinanski on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 10:25 am:|
Very hard to find the right manager for an organization like the A's. Who can function under a GM like Beane effectively? I am sure there is someone out there, but for finances and philosophical reasons it's not a long list.
But it's a very bad show on Macha's part laying Zito out like this. It really knocks him down a few rungs in my book, especially when I think about the times he did the same thing earlier in the season. Even though I agreed with him, I think he humiliated Rhodes at least once I remember. A manager must not do this.
At the same time, Zito needed the killer instinct and didn't have it. I mean, doesn't it make you wonder why he didn't go out and see what happens with the 1st batter? He just didn't have the right feel, I guess. And that is what we lacked from the top to the bottom.
| By kevink on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 10:27 am:|
It's much like the Al Davis/Raider head coach thing.
It's taken the Raiders 20 years to find the right fit, and they may still be searching after this season.
Who can function under a GM like Beane effectively? I am sure there is someone out there, but for finances and philosophical reasons it's not a long list.
Well, Geren would be one that at least knows and applies the organization's philosophy quite well.
And he has worked in the organization for quite awhile. At least the man has a pulse and works well with the players, young and veterans.
But ultimately, the effort to be less intrusive should come from Beane.
| By bigthree17 on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 10:36 am:|
We demand explanations from players and managers, and when they give them to us, we lambast them for making "excuses".
Zito couldn't pitch anymore and he knew it. Why would you want Macha to lie? Would you have wanted Macha to say that Zito wanted to stay in the game, but Macha took him out anyway?
The three best arms in the bullpen needed to protect a two-run lead and they didn't get it done. End of story.
| By jayho on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 11:38 am:|
seriously, 5th time.
If he couldn't go, he couldn't go.
people that are flogging Zito are being unfair.
| By deajay on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 04:12 pm:|
Yeh, bigthree, except for a couple paragraphs. I hadn't intended to, but all they had was yesterday's columns on the sports columnists, online (in fact as of this moment, still do). So, I figured what the heck.
But ... speaking of managers. I watched most of the Houston game today. Talk about aggression. Garner had guys like Viscaino, Bagwell, stealing bases. I mean these guys can't run any faster than Hatteberg. Got them a couple runs too. Good game. Clemens couldn't go because he was sick and on IV. That could be a break for them, because they'll have him to open against the Braves. The announcers said that Garner told them he had little doubt that the Giants would win today ... in part because the Dodgers would have very few, if any starters in the lineup. So they had to go out take care of their business. They have won 18 consecutive home games now. Boy, their crowds there lately, have been electric ... with good reason, of course. Has to be one of the great season ending finishes. I think they were like 38-12 (or some such) down the stretch. And that's a looong stretch.
Tony D was in the dugout in uniform....
| By deajay on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 04:30 pm:|
And has been for several games. That is a practice for the A's. The Cats' mgr (after they win the championship, anyway) is usually called up at the finish of their season.
| By bigthree17 on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 06:28 pm:|
This could be really bad. It's one thing to alienate T-Long and Rhodes, it's another entirely to sell out Zito like that. The Big Three are really close. Hopefully Macha's presence won't negatively impact our contract extension negotiations with Huddy.
| By chinanski on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 08:29 pm:|
So, Zito was so hurting that he couldn't go out, with a 2 run lead, and see if he still had it for ONE batter? Maybe it was that bad. It just doesn't seem likely. I trust Zito, and I like Zito. I think his decision to take himself out was reasonable. It's not the killer instinct, but it's reasonable.
I think Macha could easily have not been the first one to volunteer that Zito took himself out. All he has to say is that he took Zito out. Period. It's not a lie and a leader takes one for his men. If Zito wants to offer that he asked to be taken out, fine. In this situation, I want my manager protecting his players.
Is it clear that Zito felt that Macha embarrassed him? Why should Zito feel embarrassed?
Most people on this board have felt that, in general, Zito should get the hook after about 100 pitches. So please make up your minds.
| By bigthree17 on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 08:59 pm:|
I'm fine with Zito getting pulled. My issue is with how Macha handled it afterwards. He's spineless and likes to shift blame. I hope he goes home to Pittsburgh in the offseason and stays there.
| By deajay on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 09:10 pm:|
The one thing that bugged me. He said if needed, he probably would have had Harden ready to relieve Sunday. Well, Macha, without winning Saturday, there was no Sunday, was there? I really felt Harden should have been ready to come in Saturday.
| By jtraeg on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 09:16 pm:|
It worked for the chowds havin lowe relieving for them in the first round last year,i mean the situations are exactly the same if u look at it except its best 2 out of 3.It would have been nice to see harden on that mound with the game on the line. The season as it turned out.
| By bigthree17 on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 09:20 pm:|
Yeah, and Lilly relieved in Game 5 last year after starting Game 3.
However, I have to think that since Macha said on Friday that Harden "might" be able to relief Saturday, but definitely on Sunday, that on Sat. the coaching staff felt he wasn't ready to throw and didn't want to risk an injury to our young stud pitcher.
IF he was good to go, then that has to be the last nail in Macha's coffin. Harden would have been the perfect guy to relieve Zito; talk about a dramatic change of pace.
| By deajay on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 09:35 pm:|
Yeh, there is the possibility you're right, bigthree. They may have felt Harden wasn't ready to go on Saturday. That is definitely a distinct possibility.