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2005-05-10 23:59
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I just read a few moments ago that the Royals' Tony Peña became the first managerial casualty of the young season, resigning after the Blue Wave's loss to the Blue Jays sent them to 8-25. Do I have anything to say in Peña's defense? No, not really. He was one of my dad's favorite ballplayers, and we both loved his ultra-low catching crouch. But as a manager Peña was an inept cheerleader, a guy who was long on platitudes and short on strategy. KC's 83-79 2003 stands as one of the luckiest performances by a bad team in recent memory, and their catastrophic 104-loss 2004 had to leave Peña at a loss for motivational techniques.

More relevant to Peña's firing, perhaps, was the terrible record of the Royals' young pitching talent under his watch. Jimmy Gobble, Runelvys Hernandez, Chris George, and Mike MacDougal all had a modicum or more of success in the minors but withered as soon as the bright lights of Kauffman Stadium shone down upon them. It's hard to pinpoint whether that was Peña's fault or not, but it's hard to see how a new manager could do any worse. You can certainly imagine how wary upper management would be about what Peña's unsteady hand might do to wunderkind Zack Greinke.

It will be difficult for any new manager to improve the Royals' record on the field, but some sanity as far as playing time and roster moves are concerned couldn't hurt the few pieces Kansas City has (like Mark Teahen and David DeJesus). I doubt Peña will manage again any time soon, but I hope he stays near the game. Otherwise no one is going to know what my "CREO!" T-shirt is all about.

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