Interim again: Mackanin enjoyed Pirates, now hopes Reds will keep him
By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer
August 3, 2007
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Jim Tracy doesn't have one. Lloyd McClendon and Gene Lamont didn't, either. Pete Mackanin nearly did.
A winning record as the Pittsburgh Pirates' manager.
Mackanin went 12-14 with Pittsburgh during the final weeks of the 2005 season, after McClendon was fired with a 55-81 record during his fifth and final season. Despite the relaxed attitude Mackanin brought to the Pirates' clubhouse and their improved record under him, he wasn't considered for the full-time job before Tracy was hired.
Mackanin, now the Reds' interim manager, is glad to have another chance to run a club -- even if, like in Pittsburgh, he doesn't know if he'll have the job next season.
"Only 30 of these jobs are available and, right now, interim or not, I'm holding one of them," he said. "It's a great feeling. I'm proud to be managing at the major league level, especially with a team like Cincinnati with such a great history. To even be considered, it's exciting.
"I wish that interim managers could inherit teams that were 20 games over .500 rather than 20 under .500, but that's why I'm here," he said.
The Pirates never explained why Mackanin wasn't interviewed before they chose Tracy, but it appeared they were looking to start over with a fresh staff. Mackanin was the Pirates bench coach for nearly three seasons under McClendon and managed two seasons in their farm system before that.
Even though the Pirates shoved him out -- he hooked on a few months later as the Reds' advance scout -- he still follows many of his former club's players.
"I have a lot of good memories," Mackanin said. "There are a lot of good people in the organization and I liked a lot of the players. I root for the players I liked, just not against us."
Mackanin also has the Reds playing better, just as he did the Pirates. The Reds were 14-13 under him going into their three-game weekend series in PNC Park, compared to 31-51 under predecessor Jerry Narron.
Mackanin doesn't know if he'll get the chance to return next season but is hoping the Reds will consider his application.
"I've been from Triple-A to A to the big leagues and back to A, the Sally League and scouting and back to this," Mackanin said. "I guess you can say I wonder about it, but it's not something you can actively pursue. You've got to hope somebody recognizes your ability and thinks you can handle the job."
Sometimes, as Mackanin learned in Pittsburgh, a record doesn't always matter.
"It's hard to pursue this job because there's so much politics involved and so much else involved in it, but that being the case, I'm thrilled even to be doing this," he said. "If this is the extent of it, I'm extremely happy. I'd certainly like to have a chance to take a club from the first day through a whole season, but it's out of my hands."