If Manny Acta's having trouble looking for work -- and in this economy, aren't we all? -- then perhaps he needs to set his sights lower than professional baseball. There's probably a Franklin Covey store in a mall somewhere that's hiring.
Acta, the Post confirms, is a softee -- a man who his own players like, but didn't really respect. They wanted someone tougher, meaner. That doesn't mean they wanted Manny to run around kicking things and swearing at players while wearing just a towel. But they wanted someone -- anyone! -- to hold them accountable for what's going on.
And when the going got tough, and a player needed to be talked to, what'd Manny do? (Hope you're sitting down for this)
"He reached out to players, recommending self-help books, always making himself available to talk about family."
Can't you just picture Elijah Dukes devouring "Seven Habits"? Was Felipe Lopez an avid follower of "The Secret?" Does Austin Kearns know how to "Win Friends and Influence People?"
One player anonymously questioned Manny's philosophies:
"There were situations where it was like, 'Oh man, I hope Manny says something.' And it never got said," said one player, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "If one person steps out and is not reprimanded, eventually everybody is saying, 'Is it okay to do that or what?' We kind of police ourselves, but at the same time we're trying to build with each other. We just wanted him to say something one time to reaffirm everything."
On one level, the anonymous player is correct (Does his name sort of rhyme with Bat'n Run?). On another level, it's the greatest of all baseball curse words: horse[poop].
Acta was what he was. And the clubhouse is what it is: a bunch of quiet, keep-to-themselves non-leaders who are all afraid to speak out and take charge.
They reflected Manny's personality. And both Manny and the players were waiting around with their thumbs up their... err... holding places in their copies of "Blink" for the other one to say something.
Nobody dead. The mistakes mounted. And mounted. The losses piled up. And here we are, with the Grim Reaper as interim manager.
If there's anyone that'd benefit from some self-help books and some deep psychoanalysis, it's those of us who still watch these godforsaken games of this moribund team. If only Manny could recommend a book for us.
Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment. He never made it through "Seven Habits" -- which might explain a thing or three.