Off-Season Starts Right Now

When Houston Astros owner Drayton McLain fired GM Tim Pupura and field manager Phil Garner even before the eve of the September callups, it signaled the real beginning of the 2007-08 off season moves.

McLain can not be the only owner unhappy with his team's play. Players' contracts being what they are these days, and the dictum that owners rarely fire themselves, the jobs of front office and field managers are more precarious than ever.

Pupura went down the baseball road specifically because his off-season moves came up snake-eyes. If that be a reason for dismissal,and it surely is, other GM's who's moves haven't panned out must be feeling the heat.

There are team owners who have promised progress that can or could be seen in the standings. Off season moves that didn't produce expected results are not the same thing. And GMs for underachieving teams know that.

As the saying goes, if the shoe fits, wear it.

The Dodgers long had a cherished record for stability. But then they had a stable owner. That record of stability went by the boards some  time ago. The team has had more than a handful of GMs and managers since: Johnson, Russell, Tracy, Wallace, DePodesta Evans and others (sounds like a Capital Hill law firm, doesn't it?).

But the team has not produced a winner.

George Steinbrenner is older and ailing, but he can't be happy with the Yankees failure to overtake the Red Sox even with their play of late.

The Cards have gone from champs to chumps faster than the heart can beat, new park and all.

And the list goes on in all three divisions in both leagues.

Sign a player today and you are stuck with him, warts and all, breakdowns included. GMs can live and die by their decisions.

The Dodgers stumbled out of Vero Beach when lead-off man Rafy Furcal came  up with a bum leg.  The base stealer has only 15 stolen bases with five weeks to go and the fewest extra base hits in his otherwise smart big league  career.

The team went from pitching sellers to pitching poor in a hurry and the wondrous Boomer Wells can hardly right the ship himself with the short time left. Hmmmmn, who made those decisions? Are owners aware of what their colleagues are doing? You betcha'.

As Alice sagely opined to the Queen in Alice in Wonderland: "You've got to run faster to stay where you are."    

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