Acta's firing is unfortunate because he is hardly the source of Washington's problems. Someone had to take the blame though. Interestingly, the Nats issued a letter addressed to their fans along with the firing. You can read it here, but I've taken the time to sort through the euphemisms and give an honest translation below:
The team sucks this year and we know it. We thought Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes wouldn't be headaches, and Adam Dunn would actually make a difference. We thought Jim Bowden and Manny Acta knew what they were doing. With all that, and some luck, we though we might be able to win more than a game every now and then. We want to win, we really do!
You have to admit, there are some guys worth hanging on to though. It's not like we're blown out every night. Need some convincing? Umm...John Lannan has had some nice starts (let's not talk about the rest of the rotation)...Adam Dunn has hit some homers (just don't bring up his defense)...Ryan Zimmerman is an all-star (crap, everyone has at least one though)...oh wait! Zimmerman had a 30-game hit-streak too. That's pretty good...What else...umm...we've got Nyjier Morgan now! He can run fast. That's kind of cool, right?...Gosh, there's no sugar-coating this disaster. Our bullpen blows. Our defense blows. Our young guys don't know what they're doing. We can't even watch it anymore without running to the bathroom and puking our lungs out at the seventh inning stretch. Anything has to be better than this. We want to win, we really do!
So, we're canning Manny Acta and handing the reigns to Jim Riggleman. Frankly, we know Acta isn't the problem, but like we just said, anything has to be better than this. It's not like it can get any worse. We want to win, we really do!
This season is a lost cause, so we're already looking ahead to how we can be better in 2010. We're praying to God we sign Stephen Strasburg, because we know we're screwed and you'll hate us forever if we don't ink him to a deal. He'll be coming straight to the majors and joining the rest of our young guys (note: insert every player on the roster under 25 years old here except Ross Detwiler, because he's been shelled in his last few starts). Don't forget about our other prospects either! (note: insert every player under 23 years old in the system doing halfway decently here)...Gosh, who are we kidding? We don't have much. We're gonna have a fire sale, and try to get some young talent that way.
Remember, when we bought the Nationals, we didn't promise success right away. Therefore, you shouldn't be all that surprised or disappointed. The DC area still beats Montreal, you can take solace in that. Plus, we want to win, we really do!
Look at it this way: yeah, we really suck, and it's going to be a while before we're respectable. But, we can't get any worse, and won't it be sweeter when we are good after slogging through such awful seasons? That's the best spin we've put on this whole mess so far, so let's stop now.
The Washington Nationals Baseball Club