Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jack McKeon Back in Miami

Back on Memorial Day, the Marlins were one of the hottest teams in baseball and were serious contendors along with the heavily-favored Phillies for the NL East title. Then the Brewers came to town for a 4-game wraparound series, and my how the tables have turned. The Brew Crew would sweep that series, and since then the wheels have absolutely fallen off for the Fish. As of this post, the Fish are now 2-for-June, and in the past week they have fired their hitting coach and their manager has resigned. Son of Reds legend Tony Perez and former ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez was hired as the new hitting coach, and as of yesterday, Jack McKeon has taken over the reigns from Edwin Rodriguez as interim manager. After tonight's victory over the Angels to snap an 11-game skid, 80-year-old McKeon became the 2nd oldest manager to win a professional baseball game, next to the timeless Connie Mack.

This is McKeon's 2nd stint with the Marlins, the first being from 2003-05 during which he memorably won Manager of the Year and the World Series in his first season there. To quote Trader Jack: "I don't need this job, but I love it." I would argue that the team needs him. In his first act has manager, he benched slumping superstar Hanley Ramirez for showing up late to the ballpark. A poor work ethic has dogged Hanley his entire career and I'm positive that McKeon is not going to put up with his crap, or anybody else's excuses for that matter. The Marlins are a very good but very young team, and I think it's a good move to have McKeon come in - even if it's just on an interim basis - to whip this team into shape so that they don't embarrass themselves in their new ballpark next year. I will be excited to watch this team get back to playing the type of baseball they're capable of under Perez and McKeon, and I will certainly be very excited to see if Jack still sneaks a couple of stogies in the dugout when the cameras aren't looking.

Brewers 41-34, +0.5 (3 v. Rays, 3 v. Twins)
Reds 38-36, -2.5 (3 v. Yankees, 3 @ Orioles
Twins 31-39, -7.0 (3 @ Giants, 3 @ Brewers)

Erik - 8
Peter - 23

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