Well, they did it. I mean, you knew they were going to do it. It was only a matter of when. Now they've done it and we can move on. What have they done? Sorry, I thought you knew. The Washington Nationals have fired manager Manny Acta. It's kind of a baseball tradition. Acta, in fact, is the third major league manager to be fired so far this season and he probably won't be the last. Should they have fired him? Sure. The club has the worst won-lost record in the major leagues, so how can you argue against it? On the other hand, will firing Acta change the character of the team, propel the hapless, hopeless Nats into the playoffs? Almost surely not. The new manager has been a coach on the team, so it's not likely the team chemistry will suddenly change. And with one or two exceptions, there's an explanation for the Nats' terrible season that doesn't involve anything as complicated as chemistry: there just don't play very well. The legendary Casey Stengel, watching tryouts for the original expansion New York Mets, is supposed to have asked, after a dreary hour or so, "Can't anybody here play this game?" He'd have been perfect for the Nats. Well, lots of things in baseball don't change. My home town team, the Chicago Cubs, is tied for third in its six-team division, unlikely to make it to the World Series, which they last won in 1908. The Washington team, known as the Senators during its years in the American League, was the subject of a slogan, or maybe a taunt: Washington--first in war, first in peace and last in the American League. They've changed leagues, but not much else.
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