Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rapidz: Here for a good time, Nottle long time...

The firing of Ed Nottle begs an obvious queston — beyond whether it's OK to jettison a manager when his wife of 42 years is in poor health.

Who, exactly, do the Mensas (thank, you TUC) down at 3000 Conventry Rd. expect to be their guru for player recruitment and retention? There's a pattern. Rapidz owners Rick Anderson and Rob Hall, since buying the team shortly before the start of the season, have steadily divested themselves of the Miles Wolff hires who know baseball backward and forward, which is what they need more than promotional pizzazz. First they got rid of the Charrettes, GM Don and front-office jill-of-all-trades Lorraine Charrette, and now the skipper, Singin' Ed. It makes you wonder if something larger is afoot — would a competitive team get in the way of what they have planned for the site? — or if this is just being unable to see the diamond for the discounted tickets.

The point is that Nottle probably still brought something to the table as a player-personnel man or as an adviser. He deserved to go out with a lot more dignity, not get axed and now he'll probably just be remembered as lovable one-off character, like Duffman from The Simpsons.

This reads like the Zipperheads figure that a 5-1 record since batting coach Tom Carcione became the interim manager a week ago is enough basis for a change. Have they never heard of a small sample size? You don't have to look much farther that down Highway 401 to know that a mid-season managerial switch seldom brings more than a short-term bump.

This is being written with the hope it's all going to work out for the Rapidz in Ottawa, but right now, it stinks that Nottle was dismissed, right after going on leave to tend to his wife, Patty, and before he had a chance to face the players. Meantime, what's the plan for spotting talent? Hire some teenager to check stats on the Internet and look for gems among the players who've been released?

Anderson and Hall, with all their baseball savvy, should have aited until the team was back in town and let Nottle say his farewells to his players. Meantime — and this is written without being fully aware of what Carcione, with his 10 years as a coach, brings to the equation, it seems the baseball savvy is in short supply down at The Zip. The Rapidz are 20-43 (7-9 in the second half), but considering how small a window Nottle and Mike Kusiewicz had to round up a team, just being competitive is worth a medal.

Oh, and you don't fire a manager one week after his wife's cancer goes into remission.

(Update: Incidentally, how about the arrogance of the one Ottawa daily whose story says the ballclub "is expected to formally announce the dismissal" today. They put out a press release last night; the other paper had the story on their website at 10 p.m.. Could it be any more formal?)

Rapidz throttle Nottle (Shane Ross, Sun Media)
Nottle fired after visiting ailing wife; Ex-Rapidz manager 'treated like king' by people in city (Ottawa Citizen)


Amrit Ahluwalia said...

He did an interview with CBC Radio 1 this morning about the firing. Probably the classiest post-firing interview I've ever heard. Nothing but respect for the club, and incredibly insightful on himself, his life and his history.

Firing him leaves not only the Rapidz, but all of Ottawa, at a loss.

Tyler King said...

Wow... every decision these new owners make smacks of a total lack of knowledge of how to run a baseball team.

This is without question one of the least classy firings I've ever seen. And of questionable value too - do they honestly think that the team was going to be a major first-half contender with an expansion roster? Or that the five game win streak under Carcione actually meant something?

Oh, whatever.