Who knows when the Atlanta Braves decided to finally fire manager Fredi Gonzalez. It likely wasn't one game or last night's game in Pittsburgh. It was likely a manner of when and not if it was going to happen.
But Tuesday morning was the day. The Braves fired Gonzaelz after a disastrous start to the 2016 season, with the team at 9-28, the worst record in baseball.
Brian Snitker, in the organization for 40 years, will take over the team and be the interim manager for the remainder of the season.
The Braves were not expected to be this bad this season. While no one was expecting a division title or even a wildcard contender, the Braves have been horrible. Monday night's game in Pittsburgh was one of the worst efforts of the season, as the Braves played poorly in the field.
Atlanta is in one of its worst stretches in the 51-year history of the franchise. Since last July 7, when the team was 42-42, the Braves have gone 34-81, a .296 winning percentage.
Gonzalez was hired in 2010 to replace the retiring Bobby Cox. In his first season as manager, Gonzalez's Braves floundered in September and failed to make the playoffs. Then in 2012, the Braves played in the wildcard game against the Cardinals and lost at home in the famous 'outfield fly rule' game.
The Braves won the NL East in 2013 with a 96-66 record. But they had another September collapse and played the Dodgers in the first round. That losing series will be remembered for Gonzalez not using closer Craig Kimbrel in game four, as David Carpenter instead pitched to Juan Uribe, who hit a game-winning home run to end the series.
After the 2014 season, when the Braves were a huge disappointment, Gonzalez kept his job despite the firing of Frank Wren, the general manager who had hired Gonzalez. The Braves then tore down the team that included veterans like Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, Evan Gattis and Kimbrel with franchise-changing trades.
The team played hard through the first half of last season, but ever since the 42-42 start the Braves have been horrific.
Gonzalez had a number of things questioned by the fans, including his lineup construction and mismanagement of the bullpen.
Snitker has been in the organization for 40 years. He was first signed as a non-drafted free agent in 1977. He retired after the end of the 1980 season and instantly became a coach as a roving instructor. Snitker was in his 20th season as a minor league manager when he got the promotion to Atlanta. Snitker also was a third base coach for the Braves in Atlanta from 2007 through 2013.
The Braves will have Snitker manage the team for the rest of the season. Could he be the permanent manager? Well, if the team plays well, sure it could happen. This will be his audition. We'll see how the Braves respond to a different voice as the manager.
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