Saturday, February 13, 2010

Slap Hitter: Let the Manager firing squad begin!

By Kibby Kleiman
Sat, Feb 13, 2010 at 11:47 AM

The East Bay sporting scene needs fresh blood. The owners of the Warriors/Raiders/A's aren't going anywhere, and the city can't invoke eminent domain and buy up the deeds to the franchises. So maybe the owners can do us a solid and start removing middle management, in this case all of our head coaches.

Between Don Nelson, Tom Cable and Bob Geren, we have cornered the market on guys who defy the conventional sports wisdom of instant gratification. They have been bottom dwellers in their respective divisions since last decade and they've been given rope, wire and extention cords alike to hang themselves a couple of times over and still manage to stay upright enough to cash the checks made out to "boss".

Weirdly of the three three-lettered skippers, it's the jaw-breaking, domestically challenged Cable who has the tighest grip on his position. And deservedly so. His defiance of owner Al Davis by playing his second-string and then third string quarterbacks rather than JaMarcus Russell, earned him some serious locker room cred and a few more victories. But the Warriors have lost all hope and the A's have rewarded the only manager of the last two decades they've had, who hasn't taken them to the post-season, by failing to note the expiration date on Geren was up a season ago.

Want to see how it's done? Go see Cal. The Golden Bears muddled along with head coach Ben Braun for over a dozen years, being perennial tweeners, and then deciding that halfway measures weren't going to cut it. So they fired a coach who had a long and momentous history (hi Nellie!), ignored the taunts of those who slagged replacement Mike Montgomery (failed with the Warriors, and a Stanford guy) and are rolling toward their first Pac-10 title since the last milineum. The Warriors and A's have it much easier. Their teams are far worse than the Cal's had ever been.

We know there are extenuating circumstances for all. Al Davis does what he wants to do. Don Nelson is a few empty victories away from being the all-time wins leaders in NBA history, and then can be honored and dismissed, and the A's season hasn't yet started. But let's say that it's June, and Nelson has his record, and Cable hasn't been able to keep his paws off members of his professional or private family, and Bob Geren continues to tell reporters that, "When we get Chavvy back..." that we can dump them all at once.

We've heard it before, you can't fire all the players, so you fire the manager. Sounds like a good place to start.

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