Mackanin moves from scout to Reds skipper

He’s the fourth manager since the Reds moved to their new park in 2003.

CINCINNATI (AP) — Now, it’s Pete Mackanin’s turn to end the enduring slump.

The Cincinnati Reds turned to their advance scout Monday to try to jolt the major leagues’ worst team out of its doldrums. They fired manager Jerry Narron Sunday night, barely a year after he got a two-year contract extension that suggested stability.

Instead, they’ve chosen change.

Mackanin will be the team’s fourth manager since it moved into Great American Ball Park in 2003. The franchise also has been through two owners and three general managers during that whirlwind, five-year span.

Instability is becoming their hallmark.

“Baseball is a tough business,” owner Bob Castellini said Monday. “If people want to perceive we’re a rocky ship, they can do that. But I can tell you we have a direction.”

Very disappointing season

This season has been one of their biggest shipwrecks in the last 25 years.

The Reds are headed for their seventh straight losing season, their longest stretch of futility in a half-century. Since winning the World Series in 1990, they’ve made only one playoff appearance — in 1995 under Davey Johnson.

They have the major leagues’ worst record at 31-51 and are in last place in the NL Central, trailing Milwaukee by 161⁄2 games. Fans have lost interest as rapidly as the team has lost games: Cincinnati is on pace for its first 100-loss season since 1982.

“These are not popular times,” Castellini said.

They hope the managerial change makes them more palatable.

“History will tell you when a new guy comes in, there is often a good initial response,” general manager Wayne Krivsky said. “It has a way of re-energizing a team oftentimes, and I think Pete will energize our team.”

Too easy going

The 51-year-old Narron had an easygoing manner that grated on fans impatient with all the losing. The Reds relied too heavily on home runs, failed to do little things right, and couldn’t overcome a bullpen that led the league in losses and sapped the team of its energy.

“It just didn’t work,” Krivsky said. “We need a different voice. We need a different approach.”

Mackanin managed the Reds’ Triple-A team from 1990-92, when Lou Piniella was managing in Cincinnati. He has managed in the minors for 13 years, and ran the Pirates for the final 26 games of the 2005 season after Lloyd McClendon was fired.

He was on his way back from San Francisco, where he was scouting the Giants. The Reds were off on Monday before opening a three-game home series against the Giants.

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