Sounding off

I was chatting with Ken Macha casually the day after he’d been Louis XVI’d by Billy Beane, and not surprisingly, he was upbeat. The one part of conversation that I can reval is that he was looking forward to becoming a family man again in Pittsburgh, but that the “transition isn’t always that easy.”

Amen, brother. One of the interesting facets of my profession occurs immediately after the locals are finished, and I have to blend in with my family again. Granted, it’s quite a bit easier now that I’m not on the beat, but let’s just say, it isn’t always that easy. I’ll spare you the details, other than to say that when you’ve been going full speed for 8 months, the reduction to slow speed grates on all.

Anyway, I’ve been off in the no-blog zone since the A’s were eliminated by the Tigers, but I’ll be making daily entries until then. A few of the things that I’ve observed in the interim:

— Good for Billy Beane for firing Ken Macha. You simply can’t criticize your gutsiest player or essentially fire an employee in front of others, but that’s what Macha did with Mark Kotsay and Scott Sauerbeck, respectively. Fixing the “disconnect” immediately is what good general managers do, and we all know about Beane’s track record.

— Having said that, good for Macha, too. He got himself an extra three-year contract last fall, and essentially, two extra seasons after nearly quitting at the end of 2004. There will be enough folks in the game who respect his work that he’ll find a job eventually, and four years of being Beane’s manager is enough for any lifetime.

— My respect level for Bud Selig continues to increase, even if is begrudgingly. The fact that a new labor deal was reached two months before the current one expired might be his crowning achievement. If not for the scurge of steroids, Selig might be able to argue that he’s the best commish ever.

— Saw the name “Andy MacPhail” in more than a couple of news reports regarding Selig’s one-day successor.

— Anyone paying attention to the Giants these days?

— Regarding Dirtgate: One obvious reason — pure conjecture on my part — St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa wouldn’t protest too loudly about the substance on Kenny Rogers’ hand is that he wouldn’t want to expose any of his own pitchers to such scrutiny.

Joe Stiglich