When Bobtimist posted a link on his Twitter feed this morning pointing to a poll in the Nationals Journal, I felt an almost immediate sense of familiarity.
The subject matter of the poll, of course, was whether the firing of the Master of 'Tism himself, Manny Acta, increasingly rumored to be imminent, would be warranted right now. A steady 55-56% of Nats fans have been maintaining that such a dismissal is, at the very least, ill-timed. It's worth noting the wording of the survey question: "Is it the right time to fire Manny Acta?", perhaps indicating that the questioner has already determined the Master must go, and just wonders when the right time is to drop the ax.
This survey brought to mind another such polling of the mindset of Nats fans, one undertaken just last summer, when things were looking similarly bleak for the franchise. The tide of optimism was strong then, even as the Nationals limped towards that 100 loss plateau they had so valiantly avoided a year prior. Back then, as now, a majority of the fanbase expressed confidence in Manny, 4/5 going so far as to say he would one day lead the franchise to a winning record. Back then, as now, Nats fans showed how strongly they ultimately believe in this team and remain hopeful in its future, in stark contrast to the continual snark, gloom, and overall negativism found in the pages of Nationals Journal and elsewhere.
There is, of course, that voice out there that is (usually) optimistic in the form of our buddy Boz, who so eloquently stated the dignity with which Manny still carries himself, and the support he still enjoys amongst his players. This is not some team implosion, poisonous locker room needing to be purged type situation (a situation, incidentally, that has been prophesied by naysayers whenever an alleged "troublemaker" or "cancer" with a name like Young or Dukes has been signed). It's just another struggling chapter in a re-building ballclub, one made all the more difficult with all that Bowden stuff that went down, and with all this young pitching trying to find its footing.
So, no, the time is not right to fire ChairManny, and we shouldn't assume such an action is or should be imminent. He's been the perfect character guy to keep a positive attitude through all this painful-if-necessary losing, and deserves to see things through to their ultimate, successful, winning conclusion. The fans seem to get that.