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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Jimy Out, Garner In? 

The Astros are expected to name Phil Garner as the club's 14th manager in a little more than a half hour.

As a frustrated fan, I think that it is indeed time for a change. But make no mistake, this move is more PR than baseball. Jimy, despite his flaws (and he has many), is not the inept leader that many Astros fans suggest. I don't think he deserves to get villified the way he does, and he doesn't come close to deserving the full blame for the anemic offense of the past six weeks. I also think that Astros fans deserve any bad press they receive for unnecessarily -- and I might add classlessly -- booing Williams before last night's All-Star game.

It's a bad situation, so sayanora, Jimy. But don't worry, you'll land on your feet. Williams isn't the best in the bigs, but he's far from the worst.

Speaking of...

What do I think about Garner? I think that he's done nothing as a major league manager. His stints with Milwaukee and Detroit never came close to producing titles. But he was a fan favorite in his six seasons with Houston (81-87), and also during his coaching days (89-91). Again, it's a PR move. Garner remains popular with Houston fans and with the organization. If nothing else, he provides a friendly face, and perhaps a spark.

I'm not convinced that he'll provide much more than that, but I will gladly eat crow if he proves me wrong. Please do, Scrap Iron. You'll endear yourself to the few thousand of us still left on the wagon, even if we just make it into the final week with playoff hopes alive.

Most of the Houston fanbase raised the white flag weeks ago, despite sitting just a few games back in the Wild Card race. That's fine with me. I've stuck through truly bad teams for years, when hope was a foreign word. The Stros have a little life left in them, I think. Whether it's Garner that brings that out, or whether they just sack up and play like they're capable of playing, I feel that we'll see a more focused, determined team in the next few weeks.

I've got NCAA 2005 ready, though, in case it doesn't work out that way.


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