Florida Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez resigned Sunday morning after last night's 17th loss in 18 games.
“It was a very hard decision for me to make with the positive way the organization is moving, a new ballpark next season and the young core of players that this team has," he said in a statement released Sunday afternoon. "I am grateful for the opportunity the Marlins gave me to manage at this level.
"I can’t say enough about the effort that this staff and these players have put into this season. I could tell that they continued to give 100% effort each and every day on the field. I wish this organization, staff and players nothing but success in their futures.”
How bad had the season become? The Fish entered June second in their division, trailing the Phillies by only two games. They are now dead last, 12.5 games out.
The total freefall has been the worst 18-game stretch in franchise history, leaving bench coach Brandon Hyde to manage Sunday's game.
Chris Volstad took the mound against James Shields at 1:40 p.m. at Tropicana Field, but the game may not come easy. The Miami Herald's Manny Navarro reported that several players fought back tears as Rodriguez announced his decision in a team meeting.
Or was it really his decision?
The Marlins have long been ax-happy where managers are concerned, with three of their last ousted skippers having been named Manager of the Year by either the Baseball Writers Association of America or the Sporting News.
In the franchise's 19-year history, they have gone through 11 managers, seven of those in the last 10 seasons.
Still, few might survive a slump like this one, and despite public support from players like Hanley Ramirez, it seems Rodriguez (46-46 with the Marlins) was resigned to his fate.
"I've only known Edwin a bit," said Rays manger Joe Maddon in a pre-game interview, shortly after hearing the news. "But he's one of the nicest, most decent men I've met in this game.
"It's unfortunate he has to feel the weight of this whole moment, because it's not his fault...It bothers me to see that."
The 50-year-old Rodriguez was promoted from Triple-A New Orleans as interim manager last June after the firing of Fredi Gonzalez.
The hiring was made permanant five days later after the Fish failed to nab former Met manager Bobby Valentine, making Rodriguez the first Puerto-Rican born manager in Major League Baseball.
"I'm on [Rodriguez'] side," Ramirez said last week, apparently well aware of the Marlins' impatience with managers. "I've got his back, till the death, man...He's the best guy we ever had here...We're going through things where everything is going bad right now. But he’s there for you."
While Han-Ram's words may not have mattered, beat writer Joe Capozzi did find the silver lining in the Fish's spectaular slump.
"The Marlins fired Jeff Tourborg Mothers Day 2003, then won a championship," he tweeted. "What might a Fathers Day resignation produce?"