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April Is the Cruelest Month
After another of his brethren got fired, Braves general manager John Schuerholz shook his head and said, "G.M.'s are getting it first now. not the managers."
The cause of Schuerholz's dismay was the dismissal of Mike Port, whom the Angels canned on April 30 and replaced with Dan O'Brien. Since August 1990, Nick Leyva of the Phillies is the only field manager who has gotten the ax, but five general managers have been fired, reassigned or have resigned under pressure. With more and more teams suffering financially, owners now seem to be pressuring middle management to get the right players and, more important, to get them for the right price.
A general manager should be fired if he has done nothing to improve his team. But that wasn't the case with Port. Since the start of last season, he had acquired, among others, Junior Felix, Gary Gaetti, Dave Parker, Luis Sojo, Dave Winfield and Luis Polonia. Further, California was 9-10 the day he was let go, hardly a disastrous start. Port had been with the Angels for 13½ years, but he was fired because of "philosophical differences" with club president Richard Brown. Brown is a lawyer, not a baseball man. Port's treatment by California is yet another indication of how big money is changing baseball.
Player in a Pinch
The Mets are grumbling (what a surprise, huh?) about manager Bud Harrelson's constant lineup changes. Harrelson also didn't endear himself to his players when he canceled his pregame radio show because he thought the program's host, Howie Rose, was asking too many negative questions. "He closes his door now and wants us to answer the questions," said one player.
Another complication may be brewing over the future of reserve leftfielder Mark Carreon, who through Sunday had eight home runs in 66 career at bats as a pinch hitter. Three of those homers had come this year, which was more than every-day players Carlton Fisk, Mark McGwire and Darryl Strawberry had altogether. The Mets have a shortage of hitting. They should see what Carreon can do playing every day.
Pitchers Bobby Witt of the Rangers and Randy Johnson of the Mariners are extremely talented, but until they learn to throw strikes more often, they will not become consistent winners. At week's end Johnson had walked 29 hitters in 33⅓ innings, Witt 28 in 34. Both are 27 years old. They've been around too long to keep hurting themselves with walks....