So, there must have been friction in the Houston Astros organization between upper management and field management after all. The Astros announced Monday morning that manager Bo Porter has been fired. Coach Dave Trembley also has been canned, and coach Tom Lawless has been assigned the interim manager tag.
Reporter Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle beat the beat to the punch in announcing the move, adding this statement via Twitter by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow:
Luhnow in statement: "I made this decision because I believe we need a new direction in our clubhouse."— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) September 1, 2014
Porter, 42 years old, is the first manager fired in MLB this season. He posted a 110-190 record over 2013 and five months of the 2014 season. The Astros definitely improved in '14, going 59-79 with Porter at the helm. This past week, Luhnow downplayed a report by Fox's Ken Rosenthal that dysfunction existed within the Astros organization, particularly as it related to management's trust in Porter as skipper. Communication issues on Luhnow's side — most recently concerning a rehab visit by prospect Mark Appel to Minute Maid Park — appeared to be a problem. The Astros have had a rough season overall with information leaks, trouble signing draft picks and contract issues with their own players. All of it has made the organization look disorganized.
Porter has had some strange moments as manager, including the time he stayed silent for 17 seconds before answering a question about how poorly his team was playing in April. Not a fireable offense, of course, but possibly an example of how the Astros might not want to push the message to players and fans. Porter has been at odds with his own players on other occasions, too — like when they dissed Roger Clemens — though Porter certainly seemed to be in the right on that.
Porter also has, on occasion, gotten into arguments with players on other teams, which you probably shouldn't do even if you're in the right.
MLB began the season with five managers of color, down from as many as 10 in 2009. Those included Lloyd McClendon of the Seattle Mariners, Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers and Porter, all of whom are African American. Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves and Rick Renteria of the Chicago are Latino.
You might remember Lawless from his days as a reserve for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays. Though he hit only two home runs in 590 career plate appearances over parts of eight seasons, he's particularly noteworthy for his bat flip during the 1987 World Series with the Cards.
Perhaps he can give some flipping tips to homer-happy Chris Carter of the Astros.
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