Stop no. 1 has the deposed Oakland manager conversing with a sympathetic Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (“He didn’t communicate with a backup catcher? How awful.”), and closer to home, the SF Chronicle’s John Shea provides a shoulder to cry on.
Former A’s manager Ken Macha, saying critical comments by some of his players “really hurt,” gave his side of the story for the first time since his Monday firing.
“The reason I was fired,” he said in a Saturday phone interview, “there was too much interference with the job I was trying to do.”
According to Macha, Beane wanted Bobby Kielty to start against left-handers, as had been the case in the final weeks of the regular season. But Macha started Kotsay against Johan Santana of Minnesota and Nate Robertson and Kenny Rogers of Detroit.
Macha said he wanted 14-game winner Dan Haren to start Game 3 against the Tigers in the American League Championship Series and be available for a possible Game 7. But Rich Harden, who was injured most of the season, was picked to start Game 3. It was Beane’s call, said Macha, who went along with the decision.
Macha was fired because of what Beane described as a “disconnect on several levels,” and five players — Kotsay, Haren, Jason Kendall, Eric Chavez and Barry Zito — made unfavorable comments about Macha in Tuesday’s Chronicle. Kotsay said he felt “disrespected” that Macha seemingly questioned why he wasn’t playing a road game when the team was off the day before.
Kotsay, who battled a bad back during the season, also said the A’s “didn’t play for” Macha and rallied among themselves, adding Macha “didn’t have my back.”
“Billy wanted Kielty in the postseason, and I play Kotsay, and then Kotsay comes out and says bad things about me while I basically got fired because I played him,” Macha said. “It’s kind of sad.”
Amongst those who feel Macha was poorly treated, count Nico at Athletics Nation.
Why was the 2006 version of Ken Macha suddenly not “good enough” anymore, why was he unable to command the respect and appreciation of many of the same players who supported him in 2005? When Macha left last Winter, only to return a few days later, Billy Beane passed up the opportunity to say, “We’re really glad to have him back,” or “He has an excellent track record and we’re glad things ultimately worked out.” Instead, it became publicly known that Macha had been forced to crawl back to the same financial terms of the non-negotiable offer he had earlier refused, and Beane’s choice of words to describe his “willingness” to “take Macha back” was that Macha had been “good enough before” and was “good enough” now.
In a baseball locker room, guys walk around naked together. Imagine if you walked by your boss and while he was giving you orders, and asking for your respect, you noticed that he had no testicles. And he’s standing there, being all “in charge,” and all you can think about is…Imagine that you are a boss and you are publicly humiliated by your boss, and you know that your employees have read all about it in the newspaper, and now you have to supervise guys whose contract negotiations actually yield them raises and they just heard that you’re back because you were “good enough”. How much respect would you expect to garner in your “clubhouse,” and how much resentment would you carry to work with you each day?