Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Well, isn't THIS interesting

From yesterday's Salem Evening News: Kennedy's pissed!

...Nor does the 65-year-old Kennedy know why North Shore Spirit owner Nick Lopardo fired him after the season.

"He just wanted to get rid of me. I won too many games," Kennedy said, tongue-in-cheek.

In his four seasons at the Spirit helm Kennedy won 221 and lost 142, made the playoffs three times, reached the finals twice, and in 2005 didn't qualify, but had the second best overall record in the league.

Popularity, it turned out, was part of his getting a pink slip, according to Kennedy.

"I knew when Vic Davilla (the successor) came aboard something was going to happen," he said.

Did he mean when Davilla came out of retirement after one game in 2006?

"No, three years ago, when we first got him," Kennedy said.

"Lopardo likes Vic. Lopardo told me the reason I was let go was for economic reasons. I can only assume he didn't want to pay me and for my benefits. I don't know what he's paying Vic (to manage) and what Vic's benefits are, but that's what Lopardo said to me.

"The owner also said Vic Davilla is the most popular player there. Evidently," Kennedy said, "I wasn't popular. Vic has spent his whole career in independent league baseball and I spent a decade in the big leagues and some of it down the road in Boston and I wasn't popular enough? I don't get it.

"The owner also said something about advertising. Does Davilla get along with advertisers? When they signed me on nobody said I had to sell tickets and advertising and what not. That was brought up a couple of times in discussions we had. There were others who did those jobs. It had nothing to do with me."

Lopardo had told Kennedy the Spirit could be sold in one talk they had at the end of the season.

"He told me there were some people interested," he said.

"The next time we spoke (about possible changes) I said to him, 'Whatever's going on I'd like to let the staff know right away, so they could go out and make contacts about new jobs, as opposed to waiting in January."

It turned out Spirit pitching coach Jeff Ware got a job elsewhere before the ax fell and that Kennedy and first base coach Jim Tgettis, who doubles as the Lynn Classical baseball coach, were the only two staffers who were dismissed.

Tom Donahue, the batting practice pitcher and third base coach, and Frank Carey, a consultant, batting coach and administrator, both survived. Carey also is the nationally known high school baseball coach in North Reading.

"I couldn't throw batting practice every day, same for Tgettis, you need a guy like Donahue, who can," Kennedy said.

When Lopardo did give Kennedy the word, Kennedy said, "He told me he was making the move from top to bottom, starting with me."

Although Kennedy said he often saw Lopardo and Davilla "huddling," and Kennedy suspected something was awry, it still was a little surprising.

"He wants loyalty, and all of a sudden it's see you later," Kennedy said.

"He simply wanted to get rid of me. That was the bottom line. He wanted Davilla in there. Hey, I have nothing against Vic. I heard things that were passed along to me. But that's neither here nor there. That's the way it was, that's what Lopardo wanted. He sure didn't say we didn't do the job on the field. No way he could say that.

"Generally, if you're winning games you don't get fired, unless he felt that we should have won the championship the times we were in the playoffs," Kennedy said.

Kennedy, named CanAm League Manager of the Year for 2006, declined to hint at his salary, but said league managers were paid from $30,000 to $50,000.

Kennedy said he's through with baseball.

"The only reason I did it (with the Spirit) is because it was close by. I'm formally retiring," he announced. "Hey, this was Nick's prerogative. The owner should have just said he wanted Vic to be the manager of the team, and not talked about these other things, like advertising. He wanted to make a change and make Vic the new manager. Say it. That would have been the end of it."

Kennedy played with Washington, the Dodgers, Yankees, Seattle Pilots and Red Sox in his 10 major league seasons. He managed in the Red Sox system for three years and later scouted for 12 years with the Yankees, Phillies and Detroit, through 1996. He also worked for the State Treasury for five years.


Interesting stuff. Looks like the waffling over the team's future led to the loss of Jeff Ware. In that case, that was a major screwup by the Spirit.


Joe Grav said...

I understand why you'd sour grapes about losing your job, but come on... sometimes teams need shakeups. Don't act like it's some big conspiracy against you.

Whine, whine, whine.... maybe some of his moronic late game decisions were just him tanking it in order to get back at St. Nick /end sarcasm/.. naw, he's just a dolt

SoSayethI2006 said...

Here we go...
Now that we have something.. anything... to campare Kennedy to; we'll see what kind of Managing job he did while he was here.
Wouldn't put it past St. Nick to pull some bullshit, bush league moves. It's ALWAYS been about the money with Nick.
I personally have heard him whine about it on at least three different occasions and under different circumstances.
I wonder what "things" were passed on to J.K that we don't (and probably never will) know about.

wooden said...

Well, at least there's some affirmation regarding Nick's mancrush on Vic -- I doubt he's paying Vic more; he simply wants the manager to be more PR-oriented.

As for Ware, it's always been my feeling that the affiliates have the upper hand because there's the faint hope that you'll move up the chain. Ware did an outstanding job -- I'm sure he's not the first coach (or player) to use the indys as a 1-yr stopgap.

benoit emond said...

Joe -- This doesn't look like a case of sour grapes to me. In fact,
Kennedy seems to choose his words very carefully and will only say that he is gone because Lopardo wanted Davilla to have the job.I was looking for him to give Lopardo the umpire Richard Katz treatment, but he never really does.I think that his harshest criticism is directed toward Davilla for going to the owner and stabbing Kennedy in the back.
It seems that Kennedy was not a Lopardo bumkisser, unlike 99% of management. It appears that Davilla is,and vica versa, and that's the way that Nick wants it. The question is --- will the players play for the owner's pet? What are the ramifications of the owner's binky being in the dugout? This could be an issue.

I think that Ware would have left anywhere. He's on the way up.

Joe Grav said...

I don't think vic is a Lopardo bumkisser. I think Lopardo just really, really likes him and thinks he's more in touch. And I agree with that.

Anonymous said...

It is somewhat funny that Nick talks about loyalty and how that is #1, yet he seems to have been anything but loyal to Kennedy. Sure Kennedy made some bonehead decisions in some games, but his teams seemed to always be at the top of the league. I also do not think Kennedy has sour grapes, he was very hesitant in his comments about big Nick. And I too would be upset if one of my players was going behind my back to get my job. Not saying that's true, but I guess that's what it looked like to him.

Vic was a great player, but great players don't always make great managers, or even good ones. I agree with Benoit, we'll just have to wait and see how the players play for Vic and how he manages them

A Spirit Fan

TonyTheTiger20 said...

......Anyone else want to take away anonymous posts anymore?

No one?

Good. :-)

Thank you for using an alias like you should, spirit fan.

anyway--i dont know. i havent been around long enough to know of what has been going on, i only have the end of last season and this article to go by.

Personally, it seems to me that no one would be THAT upset about this to go as far as JK did. Something--ANYTHING, no matter how small--must have been going on. you dont get that ticked at something without a reason to.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you totally tony. There has to be some history with JK and Nick and Vic...any combination of the 3. But I also don't see JK getting that upset if nothing really happened.

I have followed the Spirit for 3 years now and during that time, Nick has said the Spirit are his family and you have to be loyal to them. Like I said, the only people that truly know what is really going on are JK, Nick, and maybe Vic...but it sure would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in that room!

A Spirit Fan

TonyTheTiger20 said...

amen to that!

Joe Grav said...

There's only so far you can go with 'loyalty' if you don't trust your manager. I certainly didn't trust Kennedy as the helmsman of the ship and apparently Nicky L didn't either. I thought he should have given ol' JK the jackboot up the arse after 2004. Long enough, IMO

benoit emond said...

I don't see the word "loyalty" anywhere in the article. I would ask the dozen or so management types (including a general manager) who have been shown the door in the past few years about the word loyalty.

Joe Grav said...

And do you really think that all of the people let go were doing a good job?

SoSayethI2006 said...

" He wants loyalty, and all of a sudden, it's see you later" says Kennedy.
JK stated he took the job only because it was close.
If that's true, he must have felt.... disrespected in some way by Nick and/or Vic, maybe both.
We have all seen JK's moves, particularly with the pitching staff, as well as being somewhat passive in situations that called for a more aggressive approach for a few years now. That being said, I can't see the level of success being what it has been without the manager making more correct decisions rather than poor ones.

Yup Tony, still don't like anonymous posts.

benoit emond said...

As negative as I've been --- I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE SEASON TO START !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joe Grav said...