Huppert Likely Moving On Due To D.C. Uncertainty
[November 13th] -- It looks as though third base coach Dave Huppert will become the first casualty of Major League Baseball's policy of willful and wanton neglect towards the Washington Nationals. He is ready to accept a managerial position with the Philadelphia Phillies class 'A' minor league team at Lakewood New Jersey.
Huppert's position with the Nationals was tenuous before the events of the past month. General manager Jim Bowden felt that the 3rd base coach wasn't aggressive enough with base runners, but Huppert disagrees. "I could have been more aggressive, but not much more," said the 48 year old, adding, "I don't think we had the speed. We hit poorly as a team and I didn't want to give up many opportunities. I only had seven guys thrown out at the plate for the year -- and the ones I held up, only 14 of them didn't score. I did as good a job as I could do. We didn't get a lot of big hits." Manager Frank Robinson disagreed with his boss. "Dave Huppert had to familiarize himself with the players on our ballclub -- know their strengths and weaknesses as far as running the bases," Robinson said. "He had to get to know every defensive player on the other ballclubs. ... That takes time, and I can't emphasize that enough.
Huppert might not have returned in 2006, but the fiercely loyal Robinson would likely have fought to keep him on the staff over the objections of Bowden. But we'll never know. Bud Selig indirectly made the decision, and not the Nationals management.
We learned in grade school what happens when the first domino in a line falls. It's just a matter of time before the Nationals becomes a team with no one in charge. Anywhere.