SEATTLE — Yesterday, Harry Dalton told us that the job of a general manager is to remain patient. Apparently, his patience has run out.
For the past couple of weeks, it became increasingly clear that Buck Rodgers‘ days as the Milwaukee Brewers’ manager were numbered. Today, the announcement made it official: Buck Rodgers has been relieved of his duties.
“I think Buck’s a good baseball man,” Dalton said today. “The chemistry went sour. We hadn’t been getting what we had the right to expect with the talent we have available. I recognize everything that happened wasn’t Buck’s fault. I wanted to give Buck every opportunity to right the ship.”
And that opportunity ran out. Brewers fans would argue that Rodgers was given far too much time to “right the ship.” You can’t right a ship that’s sinking, and water’s been flooding a gaping hole in the SS BrewCrew for quite some time.
It’s interesting this announcement was made today, given the Brewers beat the Mariners 2-1 yesterday. But the rumor is that the decision to make the move had already been made prior to yesterday’s game, which would make sense considering the collapse that led to three blown leads in that game. Dalton knew that change was coming when he spoke of patience. Rodgers was a dead man walking and he was made aware of the change this morning.
In something of a surprising move, the Brewers have replaced Rodgers with longtime coach Harvey Kuenn… at least for now. “We have appointed Harvey Kuenn as interim manager,” said Dalton. “That can mean anytime from two to three weeks to the end of the 1982 season. We have been looking for someone to take over on a permanent basis.”
So who will be that permanent solution? Good question. It won’t be former team captain Sal Bando, long rumored to be waiting for the opening. He isn’t interested in committing to managing.
The interesting twist in all of this is that the man the Brewers really want, former manager George Bamberger, is no longer available. Bambi stepped down due to health concerns and Rodgers took over. Had the Brewers not made the playoffs last season, they were primed to invite Bamberger back. Instead. they did take that next step and felt obligated to bring Rodgers back. Meanwhile, Bamberger took a job to manage the Mets.
A couple of possibilities are on Bambi’s staff. Jim Frey, the former manager of the Royals and current coach on the Mets, could be an option. Frank Howard, a former Brewers coach who was fired after managing the Padres last season, is also a coach on the Mets’ staff who could be on the Brewers’ radar.