It could be said that Tony Pena finally made the right move. He resigned.
There are a couple of things going on here that I’m sure factored into this decision:
• Tony lets the losses bother him way too much. Not to go too “psycho-analytical” or anything, but he seems to have a problem. It’s well documented what losing does to a manager. They don’t sleep, they don’t eat. Hell, Sparky Anderson was totally grey when he was 40! But Pena seemed particularly ill equipped to handle the pressure as the losses mounted. Who the hell jumps into the shower with their clothes on to make a point?
• Tony is dealing with some personal issues right now. He’s been subpoenaed in a civil case in Cass County, Missouri. At this time all I know is he’s has been called to testify by one of the parties in a divorce proceeding. I don’t know why he’s been called and I won’t speculate, but it doesn’t look good.
EDIT: This story just appeared online detailing the reason for the subpoena.
Tony had a great start in his first full season as manager when the team managed to finish above .500 for the first time in years. Those were fun times, as the Royals were in contention and Pena was the self-proclaimed “D.J.” But he couldn’t maintain the momentum in 2004 and, well we all know what’s happening in 2005.
So now we turn our thoughts to the next manager. Last time there was an opening, Buck Showalter openly campaigned for the job, proclaiming the Royals were an organization on the rise. I’m not too sure we’re going to have anyone calling Allard Baird this morning asking for an interview.
Here are some candidates off the top of my head:
• Larry Dierker
• Art Howe
• Bob Brenly
• Bobby Valentine
• Larry Bowa
• Don Baylor
• Jamie Quirk
• Frank White
I can’t say I’m thrilled with any of these names. The first six all have previous managerial experience. The last two, obviously, are ex-Royals with managerial aspirations. White is in Wichita for the expressed reason of ultimately managing a big league club. Quirk left the Royals organization after a falling out with Tony Muser and is currently the bench coach in Colorado. Hiring one of these two would fit a pattern this team has of hiring ex-players with no managerial experience. In fact, the last manager hired by the Royals that had previous big league managing experience was the late Dick Howser.
The short list will take shape over the next several days. Some of these names might be on it, some won’t. We’ll look at each candidate in-depth when the time is right.
My choice for manager is someone who has a proven track record of taking a bunch of misfits and making them winners. He's a motivator (when he's sober,) knows how to handle a young pitching staff and doesn't back down. Unfortunately he's dead: