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Sports


"You're fired!" becomes the norm in the Cleveland pro sports scene
After disappointing seasons, many fans want Indians manager Manny Acta and Browns coach Pat Shurmur fired
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and KELLI FITZPATRICK


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Manny Acta has been the manager of the Indians for 2 1/2 years and rumors about his ouster are floating after a disappointing season so far.
Courtesy of Chuck Crow, The Plain Dealer
Download (WKSU Only)
The Indians are in the midst of an 11-game losing streak in a season that rapidly fell apart after the All-Star break. The slide has prompted fans - and the front office - to start talking about firing manager Manny Acta.

It's a trend that's common in Cleveland's pro sports scene. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks to Amanda Rabinowitz about why Cleveland fans are so quick to fire the coach.
Terry Pluto commentary audio

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Terry Pluto's thoughts on Brandon Weeden named Browns' starting QB

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Longest career of current Cleveland coaches
Manny Acta has been the Indians team manager for two and a half years—the longest career of the current managers and coaches of Cleveland’s three sports teams. And already, the city is ready for something new.

“It’s like, basically, ‘The Indians are terrible, we’re tired of this guy already,’” Pluto says. “Because in this town, when you don’t know what to do, they want someone fired.”

Firing isn't always the answer
Pluto says the rotation of coaches doesn’t necessarily help the teams improve.

“You think it makes it better,” he says. “But in fact, if firing people made it better, the Browns would have been to the Super Bowl three times. They are the masters of firing people. Since they came back in 1999…no coach, no general manager, no team president has lasted more than four years.”

Confidence in Acta
The Indians office gave its vote of confidence to Acta, but Pluto says that doesn’t mean much.

“The only thing that’s good for Manny Acta is that his contract is guaranteed through 2013,” he says. “So even if they fire him tomorrow, he’s paid for the rest of this year and next year.”

Pluto says a viable next option is Sandy Alomar, current bench coach and former player for the Indians. He interviewed for two managerial jobs last year, but didn’t get them.

“Sandy’s a sharp guy. He’s going to manage sooner or later, whether he manages here or somewhere else,” Pluto says. “Now, the question is, do you pull the plug and just go to Sandy? It’d be popular with the fans, although managers don’t sell tickets…these are all the things I’m sure they’re talking about behind the scenes.”

Pluto says although most sports teams only keep coaches and managers around three to five years, stability breeds success. He points to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have had only three coaches in 40 years. The Patriots and Yankees have had coaches with long careers as well.

Feeding the news cycle
Pluto says the 24-hour sports news cycle also contributes to Cleveland’s continuous firings.

“These games are talked about incessantly around the clock, day after day,” he says. “There’s a feeling that they’ve lost more games, or things are worse than they are.”

Pluto says sports talk shows focus on shaking things up and making immediate changes to fuel speculations and hours and days of debate. 

“At some point, you have to say, this guy is my guy, and I’m gonna stick with him for a while, and give him an opportunity to show what he can do because…new is not always improved.”


Related WKSU Stories

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Indians Hall of Famer Larry Doby's little-known legacy
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Cleveland Browns sell for more than $1 billion
Friday, August 3, 2012

The Indians are guilty until proven innocent, while jurors keep embracing the Browns
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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