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Newz Forum: BASEBALL: Diamondbacks dismiss Brenly as manager

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posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 05:05 PM
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks fired manager Bob Brenly on Friday in the midst of their worst season since their expansion campaign of 1998.

The Diamondbacks didn't immediately announce a successor but scheduled a 6 p.m. ET news conference to introduce him and discuss reasons for the change. According to media reports in Arizona, the list of possible replacements includes bench coach Robin Yount, third base coach Al Pedrique and minor league manager Wally Backman.

A former major league catcher and television analyst, Brenly was the second manager in the franchise's six-year history. He took over from fired Buck Showalter in 2001 and directed the team to a dramatic World Series triumph over the New York Yankees.

He was the first to win a World Series in his first season as a major league manager since Ralph Houk of the Yankees in 1961. The Diamondbacks, led by the powerhouse pitching duo of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, won the NL West title in 2002, but faltered in an injury-plagued 2003 season and failed to make the playoffs. This year, with Schilling dealt to Boston, the Diamondbacks again experienced an avalanche of injuries, the most damaging a season-ending torn shoulder ligament to slugger Richie Sexson.

"This is never an easy decision to make, particularly with someone as well-liked and respected as Bob," said Jerry Colangelo, the team's chairman and chief executive.

Brenly compiled a 303-262 record in 3½ seasons, but the team was 29-50 going into Friday night's interleague game against the Minnesota Twins, 15 games behind division-leading San Francisco.

Colangelo said a month ago that Brenly would remain through the season, the final year of his contract, "unless the bottom falls out." That apparently happened when the team went through a mistake-filled, club-record 11-game losing streak. The skid ended Wednesday night, and Arizona won its second in a row over San Diego 7-5 on Thursday night, but Brenly's fate had been sealed.

A paid crowd of 22,631, smallest in franchise history, watched Thursday night's game. Colangelo said earlier this week that he would meet with general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. and other members of the front office to discuss Brenly's fate and other matters, such as what players might be traded to contenders to add more young prospects to the roster.

The Diamondbacks have had 16 players on the disabled list this season, most in the majors. That has led the team to field lineups with the likes of Chad Tracy, Scott Hairston and Tim Olson, all of whom began the season in the minors.

The bullpen was decimated by injuries and ineffective even when the main pitchers were healthy.

"We are all disappointed and distressed at the direction our club has taken this year, and several key injuries have factored into our record," Colangelo said in a statement. "The blame does not solely fall on Bob's shoulders, as we have failed in many facets on the field and in the clubhouse.

"However, with disappointments come change and our ownership group and management feel that now is the time to relieve Bob of his duties as manager."

The team was prone to mistakes, including recent instances of missed bunt signs and costly errors. The Diamondbacks committed four errors on Wednesday night. After the team played an error-free game on Thursday, Brenly smiled and proclaimed "No errors! We get pizza!"

Then he walked out the interview room door. They were his last comments to the media as Diamondbacks' manager. He sent word through the organization that he would have no public comments Friday.

posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 05:15 PM
He didn't have much to work with other than the Big Unit.

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