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10/20/09 5:57 PM ET
Acta is first Tribe finalist to interview
Former Nats skipper knows rebuilding effort is tough work
By Steve Herrick / Special to MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Manny Acta is a realist.
He knows the average baseball fan, given a preference, would like to see a big name manage his team.
"Everybody in this town and probably every town in America would want a top-[name] guy, a Joe Torre, a Tony LaRussa, one of those guys to walk in and manage their club," Acta said.
Acta, who was in town Tuesday to interview for the Indians' managerial job, also realizes names like his won't result in a ticker-tape parade with people lining the streets downtown.
"The reality is those guys don't go for those jobs," Acta said of baseball's big name managers. "Those type of jobs go to guys like me."
Acta managed the Washington Nationals for two-plus seasons and compiled a 158-252 record before being replaced in July. The Nationals were 26-61 when Acta was dismissed. The Indians, who finished 65-97, let manager Eric Wedge and his coaching staff go in the final week of the season.
Acta, who interviewed for the Astros' job last Friday, should know in the next couple of weeks whether the Indians' opening is his. He spent about eight hours at Progressive Field on Tuesday with several members of the Indians front office, including general manager Mark Shapiro, assistant general manager Chris Antonetti and owners Larry and Paul Dolan.
"I think it went very well," Acta said in a 30-minute news conference following the interviews. "I've been very impressed throughout the whole process. They're going to have a tough decision to make, and I think they're going to make the right one."
Acta knows if he gets the job he will be trading one rebuilding situation for another.
"Rebuilding is tough," Acta said. "It's grueling. You're going to suffer in wins and losses. A lot of people judge you on that. I'm thankful baseball people look at more than wins and losses when you go into a rebuilding process, and that's what happened here today."
Acta, 40, spent 16 years in Houston's Minor League system as a player and coach. Asked what he would do if both teams offered him the job, Acta said, "It's a business. All of us in life have to be able to separate our heart and our head when the time comes. I don't know if I will be blessed that both teams will offer me this job."
Asked to describe himself as a manager, Acta said, "I'm a guy who brings a lot of positive energy. There aren't that many geniuses in this game. I try to be myself and show people what I bring to the table, that I already paid my dues with a rebuilding process."
Acta believes communication skills are the most important part of being a manager.
"This is a job where handling people and working with people is the key," Acta said. "This is a job where sometimes the employees are making 50,000 times more than the boss. Handling them the right way is the key."
Acta said he watched the Indians play on television several times in the final month of the season.
Acta also showed a sense of humor when asked if he prefers the style of play in the National League to that in the American League.
"If I say the National League, am I not going to get this job?" he asked with a laugh.