But no matter how many times they stroked that key, nothing popped up. Acta's still here.
The team may very well be on the verge of firing him. Acting, not-quite-official GM Mike Rizzo, when asked about Manny's job security said, "We're constantly evaluating everybody in the organization. We'll evaluate it, and decisions are gonna be made." Hardly a ringing endorsement.
Still, the timing for it is all wrong for a few reasons.
First is the draft. It's just a week away. Rizzo was hired initially for his scouting eye and he's probably more intimately involved in the process than Jim Bowden was. His focus is primarily on the draft now, as it should be.
Yesterday, Rizzo started the process of ranking every single player they've seen (over 1,600) for the draft. He simply didn't have the time to fire Manny yesterday.
Second is the schedule. There's certainly a PR component to any firing. It's certainly not the most important aspect, but they'd want to put his successor -- likely just another interim guy -- in a position to succeed.
But look at the schedule. If they had done it yesterday, the new guy's first three games would've been against the reigning Cy Young winner, an old Hall of Famer going for win No. 300 and Matt Cain. Ouch. Then after a three-gamer with the .500-ish Reds, there's a long stretch of 15 straight games against the AL East. If the Nats manage to not get swept in any of those series, it's a moral victory.
If they changed managers now, they'd be setting the new guy up to fail. It'd be far too easy for the Nats' critics -- of which there are many -- to point to the continued poor play and rip the organization for still being dysfunctional.
They almost need to keep Manny around to take a beating.
Lucky him. Lucky us.
Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment. If he had used an analogy, he'd have compared Manny to Mike Bacsik.