Monday, September 15, 2008

Sounds Manager Fired, Loses Opportunity to Wave His Arms Around Really Fast

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 2:59 PM

click to enlarge Kremblas.gif
The Sounds' ex-manager Frank Kremblas, as seen in the dreams of Milwaukee fans. Nashville Sounds manager Frank Kremblas was fired last week. The Sounds' parent club, the Milwaukee Brewers, won't comment one way or the other, but thanks to one of Kremblas' former players, news has spread. What this means for the Sounds is hard to say. If you judged strictly by wins and losses, this year's last place finish might suggest that the firing was justified. But managing a minor league baseball team is like being asked to create a great meal while simultaneously losing your best ingredients. Kremblas took over in 2005 when the pantry was stocked. Three straight Pacific Coast League titles suggest he got the most out of the sizable talent he was handed. A legacy of Major League All-Stars (Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy) and solid contributors (Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart and Manny Parra) speaks to Kremblas' ability to prepare a handful of barely-legals for life in the Bigs. So why the pink slip? Contributing writer Kay West's profile on Kremblas last year might provide a clue....
Where his peers often sit nailed to their slice of wood in the dugout, Kremblas fidgets through every game. He’s up and down, up and down, up at the rail or down on the bench. When the Sounds are at bat, he assumes his place on the third-base line, his panoramic vision taking in the batter, the base-runners, the pitcher, the catcher, the officiating crew—and between batters, the women in the stands. He either stands ramrod straight or bent at the waist, hands on his knees, poised like a cat ready to spring. “Other players are always asking us, ‘What’s up with your skipper? Is he weird?’ ” says Sounds infielder Brad Nelson. “He is so intense, there’s no way he could get any more intense.”
The Brewers are currently led by Ned Yost, a man who some have suggested can't manage his way out of a paper bag. Twice during Yost's tenure, Brewer's brass has passed over Kremblas for open third-base coach jobs (ya know, the guys who wildly cartwheel their arms in a circle to wave the runner home?). According to some Brewers who've played under both, moving from Kremblas to Yost is like having a substitute teacher take over for the guy who knows every student's middle name. It isn't a stretch to think that the balance of power in the clubhouse might shift if the man who'd once demanded so much of those same young players in Nashville was sitting next to the guy they disparage off-the-record. Not good news for the Brewers. And even worse news for the Sounds.

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