At 0-7, the Fredi Gonzalez Watch is officially on

Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (33) argues from the dugout during a baseball game Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

“Whaddaya want me to do?” (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

When last the Atlanta Braves started 0-7, they fired the manager. Technically, it didn’t happen for another five weeks — they were 12-27 by then — but it happened. Not wanting to can Chuck Tanner in Pittsburgh, where he’d won a World Series in a previous posting, then-GM Bobby Cox waited until the team completed a weekend series at Three Rivers and flew to Chicago. And there, in a hotel along the Magnificent Mile on the night of May 22, 1988, the deed was done.

(Historical note No. 1: Tanner’s replacement was Russ Nixon, who lasted until June 22, 1990. Nixon’s replacement lasted two decades.)

(Historical note No. 2: Of all the lousy days in Atlanta sports history, May 22 ranks high/low. That same Sunday, the Hawks lost to the Celtics in Game 7 at the old Boston Garden. Dominique Wilkins scored 47 points in vain. Then Tanner, who’d famously promised a parade down Peachtree when his Braves won a title, was given the gate. Only in the A-T-L, kids.)

This is a backhanded of way of saying the Fredi Gonzalez Watch is officially on, not that it has lately been off. To lay all seven losses at the feet of Fredi G. would be incorrect; his team is, as 0-7 might indicate, spectacularly awful. (And awful by design.) That said …

Since July 7 of last year, the Braves are 25-60. Since Opening Day 2014, they’re 146-185. Yes, Fredi’s first three seasons here saw his teams win 89, 93 and 94 games, but that seems a long time ago. If he was the right manager to follow Cox — similar to the Hall of Famer without being a shameless imitator — he wouldn’t appear the right manager for what the Braves have become.

There’s a catch in that: For what the Braves have become, nobody in the history of baseball — not Casey, not Sparky, not Torre, not La Russa — would be ideal. Who’s great at running a terrible team? But the one thing upper management has to fight is the notion of this thrown-together team giving up so soon. Losing 100 games is bad. Losing 120 would be historic. (Just imagine if Opening Day at SunTrust Park isn’t a sellout.)

And if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Fredi’s teams, it’s that they save the worst for last. Over five full seasons, his Braves were 40 games above .500 before the All-Star break; they were .500 thereafter. Only once have they had a winning September.

Almost never is it entirely the manager’s fault, and it certainly isn’t with this sorry club. (When Eric O’Flaherty, who has nothing anymore, is your get-out-the-lefty lefty, you’re in a world of hurt.) But when a season that was expected to be bad starts even worse, somebody invariably takes the fall. As the saying goes, you can’t fire 25 players.

Although, come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea.

Reader Comments 0

293 comments
Chris Dantzler
Chris Dantzler

We won 3 in a row freddie isn't going anywhere go braves

Ben Lane
Ben Lane

You can fire Fredi all you want too but the Braves will still be awful. Bad and indecisive upper management has led to this debacle.

Natasha Stark
Natasha Stark

The team itself is bad. But just regular bad, spectacularly bad. Jesus himself couldn't work enough miracles to make them better. Gonzalez has a hopeless task. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Chamelio Salamander
Chamelio Salamander

They need to fire the nut who said their fan base is north of the city...a gentrified Atlanta will prove him very wrong in the coming years...their loss is Georgia State's gain though..

Anna Gingher
Anna Gingher

We down here in the south metro disagree. I can't randomly plan on attending a braves game after this season bc Cobb co is not where I want to be

Mark Terrell
Mark Terrell

It's a proven fact the majority of season ticket holders live north of ATL. Not sure how you can dispute that.

cvan32802
cvan32802

Thank you Mark. When the Braves kept the galactically inept Fredi after the 2014 season, I formally withdrew my four decades of loyal support for the Braves and now root for the Nationals, where I now live.   Keep the "watch" and more appropriately, the heat to maintain pressure to get rid of a person who failed to inspire maximum performance from talented teams, leading to September swoons and, in a "good" year, swift and embarrassing playoff exits.   I understand the Braves plan to rebuild but ongoing maintenance of an environment where historically mediocre and even poor performance is repeatedly rewarded, Fredi's funeral is long overdue.   If the rebuilding plan is to succeed, new leadership is required to push these coddled losers into giving their best, which has never happened in the Fredi tenure.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

After the latest article about Liberty I am more convinced than ever that we cannot trust them to work in the best interests of the baseball team.  Its about a real estate development now & they are not going away any time soon. 

And if some of these prospects get good -- do you really trust them to keep them.  We might see competitive baseball again in two or three yrs but the way this business is run it will be a short window of opportunity

TideDawg
TideDawg

The Braves did the right thing cleaning house and starting over. If the talent they've accumulated develops they will be strong for a long time. What's disappointing about Braves management is that they were selling the fans on the idea that they have a competitive team now. They are peeing on our boots and telling us it's raining. This team of newbies and retreads may develop into a team by the second half of the season but it may be difficult to dig out of an 0-82 start. Yeah! That's a joke because there are some teams that may be worse than the Braves and they will split some series with those teams. Regarding Olivera: A bad buy from the beginning and may challenge for the worst since BJ Upton. At least BJ didn't commit any crimes unless you want to call taking a paycheck for his contribution a crime. The domestic abuse case may be the Braves chance to dump Olivera and void a bad contract.

Jacket Detective
Jacket Detective

They way overdid it.

They should have kept El Orso Blanco with his reasonable contract.

Same with Simmons.

The Johnson/Uribe trade for two worthless pitchers was a slap to all who believed John Hart when he said in a conference call to A List members that the team would be competitive.

Or did he just mean for the first two months?

I detected the lie and did not renew but not everyone has that skill.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@TideDawg  Had they been more upfront with the public from the beginning, this rebuild would have been better accepted.  And Coppy;s rants late last yr will not earn him any PR points -- just own it and admit that the talent level on this team at this time is marginal

dawgburgess
dawgburgess

I still think that Ned Yost is a better manager than Fredi. Bradley doesn't think so. Braves should have gone with Ned!

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

And, if the powers-that-be expected better than this they were DELUDED, which might be cause for THEIR dismissal. I said coming out of Spring Training, this team would struggle MIGHTILY to win even one game a week over the first two months of the season. Pretty obvious where they were headed, pretty much right on-track.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

There would be something very unseemly allowing the architects of the MLB equivalent of the Titanic to fire the manager of the engine room. Fire McGuirk on-down through Coppy, then let the new regime pick a manager of their choosing.

Ed Hendry
Ed Hendry

COBB COUNTY BRAVES ARE GOING for a record! 0 FOR 162!

Adam Zappia
Adam Zappia

And then two years later they started the run of a lifetime. #youcantpolishaturd

TideDawg
TideDawg

I think Dimitroff is making decisions for the Braves. Even more disappointing than the Braves record is Pierzynski's play. He's playing like he knew this was going to happen.


Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TideDawg Well as bad as AJ is going he did have 2 hits last night, half of the Braves total hits. What is up with Freeman ,he is playing like he is upset that he was left behind and not traded to a contender.

TideDawg
TideDawg

If the Braves manage to hold a lead after the 6th inning it will be because of a round bat & round ball, several good hops, a rain out, or FG managing their opponent. The Braves are interesting again because you can watch the game in anticipation of what move FG will make to lose it. He doesn't have a lot of good choices in relief pitchers but his timing and strategy haven't been very good either. I'll still watch them but it is frustrating.

Paul R Denault
Paul R Denault

I knew Fredi Gonzalez's job was in jeopardy after the team went 0-5. I figured he may last until say, Memorial Day. But, the way things are going he may not make it to May. However, with that said, the team's troubles are definitely not all his fault by a long shot!


James Fralick
James Fralick

You can't blame all of this on Fredi. They have dismissed or traded away every real player except for Freeman. There is no talent on this team. Very disappointed in the Braves.

OH:IO
OH:IO

2017


Worst to First

Chris Lacy
Chris Lacy

Meh. Just move to Cobb County already. Leave the Atlanta name when you go.

Peachs
Peachs

Leaving town, which is essentially, what the Braves are doing, is always a nasty event. 


That said, Freddie ain't Bobby, and the management of the Braves hadn't had to fire a manager for a very long time, it should be interesting...

Matt O'Neal
Matt O'Neal

Fire fredi Gonzalez and hire tom glavin, Greg Maddox,John smolze,and chipper jones. They need pride back too the team

James Reeves
James Reeves

That the story of the Atlanta braves build the team until they start winning the trade the best player away so that they can field a grapefruit league team so that they can start building another contender to trade away

Eddie Newman
Eddie Newman

The idiot that created this mess should be gone. Everyone knew this team would SUCK

Monique Lang
Monique Lang

It's not the manager fault for having 7 losses. God is in control

Rod Thomas
Rod Thomas

Maybe he will bat the pitcher fourth in next game. He's tried it before. Almost worst manager in Braves history....with or without talent.

TomGaff
TomGaff

What the hell is wrong with Freddie Freeman, he needs to be a the bottom of the line-up until he starts to hit(if that ever happens). Yesterday we had runners at 1st and 2b, no outs with Freeman at bat. My opinion would be for him to bunt, putting runners at 3rd and 2b with one out! What does he do, swing away and get SO. We get no runs, lose again. Quit falling in love with what these players have done in past seasons and base it on what they are doing now!!

Fansince66
Fansince66

Been a fan since the Braves came to Atl. NEVER, and I mean NEVER, have I been so disgusted with the franchise. I will NOT watch, listen or even discuss the Braves again...until I see some sort of commitment from the ownership to actually improve the team that they throw on the field. I watched these first few games with the unfounded hope that maybe all the pundits were wrong...that maybe this ragtag bunch of players could help poor Freeman actually resemble a Major League team . Alas...it is not to be. Congratulations to the ownership. You've done what even the Braves of the 70's and 80's couldn't do...you've lost me as a fan! 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@Fansince66 Perhaps if Freeman was actually hitting (1 for the season) the rag tag bunch on the field might actually score enough to win a game. It is amazing that they score at all ,when your best hitter homered in his first AB of the season and has gone o'fer since.

Mike Dills
Mike Dills

to have a winning team you must have the correct players ! without that it doesn't matter who the coach or manager or owner is .

BobDawg
BobDawg

… and why doesn't Fredi get Beckham and Kelly Johnson in the lineup starting… get your best hitters in there that you can. I don't care where they play, but those 2 can hit…. 

BobDawg
BobDawg

What's really sad is this franchise was a winner every year and players just came in and bought into the winning. Now we have torn it down; up and sideways and the young-uns coming up will have to learn how to win again… so it took from 1988 to 1991 to go worst to first… so are we talking about 2020 for this franchise???  Geez…. 

Charles Fuller
Charles Fuller

The Hart of the team has been ripped out. Traded the best SS in baseball and now they can't throw to first base and outfielders can't catch fly balls. Best outcome for this season is to get in the record books as most inept team ever and get first pick in the draft. This could be a memorable team.

Lail Sales
Lail Sales

That's so stupid , it's not his fault , you got a Triple A in the majors

Todd Kent
Todd Kent

That's Bobby cox's do boy he ain't going nowhere ⚾️

Doug Titus
Doug Titus

Not his fault. They knew they'd have a lousy team this year.