(AP) - Fans and management of the Belfast
Bombers, totally disappointed with the performance of
manager Nelson Mandella has had him resign his position.
"We have the youngest, strongest, pitching arms in the league
and Nelson and his staff has done nothing with them...this
has to change. There is more to this game then offense and
I don't think they (Nelsons coaching staff) got that point.
We acknowledge that he worked wonders last year during the
play-offs winning the series with a injury riddled staff.
He made some good pitching decisions and we credit him for
that. But his strengths are not in the areas that the direction
of this team is going. " Mandella and management have been
at odds on player acquisition and the team direction since
new management took over and moved to Ireland. Belfast management
is actively pursuing Ex Red Sox star Dwight Evans to head
the team. There is a strong chance that if Evans takes the
position he will be pulling Luis Tiant in as the new pitching
coach. Evans: "It is a tempting offer, Belfast has talent
and when healthy can compete with any team in the Weaver.
I think that if we can bring up some of the speed in the minors
and start harnessing the power of the pitching staff...this
team would be a active candidate for another Championship
ring." Tell us here in Ireland that statement doesn't sound
like he is interested.
management had also been questioning the injury plagued OF
Jaris Kohl's desire to play and actually had him on the trading
blocks towards the end of the season do to his limited playing
time. Well their playoff run kept him on the team and it seems
to be a good thing. This year, though 'Stan the Man' will
probably be the recipient, Kohl put forth a solid run for
MVP himself. Leading the blizzard in HRs, Triples, Slugging
percent, and second to Musial in BA, Runs Created and hits,
Kohl has shown Belfast that he is everything that has been
expected of him. Kohl: "I understand their (management) concern
about my playing time...I agree with them, I am an important
factor in this team competing for a title. I want to continue
playing in Belfast and I think after this years performance
they want me to continue playing in Belfast...next year with
d-Mick healthy we should do a lot better then we did this
year and I want to be a part of it." Well it looks as if he
is going to be a part of it...David Justice, the player they
acquired to fill the void if Kohl was traded was put on the
trading blocks earlier this week, along with speedy SS Kurt
Zeigler (make room for speedy youth Evans may be bringing
up). Belfast believes they have to many quality outfielders
and would like to trade some to deepen other positions. Management:
"We feel Justice will bring in solid offers and catch the
interest of other owners...something our offering of Femnos
didn't do. Management doesn't feel changes have to be made
and that the talent on the team now, if able to stay healthy,
will be a viable candidate for the Blizzard Title next season.
Management has also contracted a safety engineer to conduct
a study on the field to see what can be done to reduce injury.
The City of Belfast has already put to rest any ideas of the
team moving by letting them know, they will not let them out
of their contract, and the team will be in Belfast for at
least another three years.
year pitcher Bob Warren was a big surprise for the team along
with Carl Evertt. Warren, who was acquired to fill a long
reliever role, led the team in wins and was probably the most
consistent starting pitcher on the young staff. Evertt, his
first year in Belfast, hit over three hundred with 30 HRs,
80 RBIs, .519 slugging percent and didn't commit a single
error all season. The big disappointments lay in the pitching
staff. Team expected a lot more from fireballers Paul Wilson
and Marc Kroon. Both pitchers had horrible ERAs and BA against
numbers. On the offensive side catcher Winston Churchill had
a uncanny poor hitting year. All three are expected to change
things around next year and are projected to stay with the
team. Players to watch out for next year...Pitchers: Atkinson,
Bob Warren, and Closer Rob Nelson ... Batters: Mantle, Kohl
and two nicely developing youngsters Ryu Nobeoka and Carl
Evertt. GO BOMBERS!