SEATTLE — The Brewers don’t play until 9:30 Milwaukee time, but there has already been a day’s worth of news about the team. Buck Rodgers was fired, and he went down swinging. Without naming names, Rodgers referred to a couple of “cancers” on the team.
So what to the players think about the change in leadership?
Mike Caldwell, who many believe is one of the “cancers” that Rodgers referred to, thinks that his former manager didn’t give the pitchers equal billing on the team: “He’s the one who said we didn’t have a team leader. He mentioned several players who could be leaders. None of them were pitchers. I think there are some pretty good pitchers around here who have the guts and integrity, who are the types who could be leaders.”
Cecil Cooper: “I think we needed a change. Not necessarily the manager, but something had to be done. We’re not a .500 team. Harvey told us if something is bothering us to come in and we’d talk about it. That might have been harder with Buck. Guys didn’t feel relaxed with him.”
Just two days ago, Jim Gantner seemed to know what was coming. Always willing to speak his mind, he had this to say: “You can’t fire 25 players. Sometimes the manager’s at the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s really too bad. We’re going to have to do something to shake up this club. I’m not saying fire the manager, but something has to be done to shake up the club. Make some changes somehow. That’s not my decision, though, that’s the front office.”
Little did Gantner know, that decision was in the process of being made.