Saturday, November 1, 2008

Maradona, Madman Or Messiah?

Nothing is official, not until Tuesday is the word, but it appears that Julio Grondona, the head of the Argentine federation has lost all sense of reality. Grondona, it's said, is due for a press conference this Tuesday to announce the appointment of Diego Maradona as the new Technical Director for the Albicelestes.

As reported in the Washington Post daily newspaper Clarin ran an online poll and nearly 74 percent of the vote indicated that appointing Maradona was not the best idea. In another poll, La Nacion found less than 10 percent of voters thought his selection was warranted.

Now Diego is being given all the help that the AFA can muster. He'll have Carlos Bilardo at his side, as well as well as others, but how much will he listen to them? Did he ever listen to any of his coaches while he was a player? What makes Grondona think he'll listen to his assistants? Or that his players will listen to him?

I'm sorry, but I can only compare this to the days at the end of baseball great Babe Ruth's career when he decided out of the blue that he wanted to become a manager. The Yankees laughed at any such suggestion, as did all the other teams in the majors save one. The Boston Braves were in debt, and sinking further, took on the Babe for his final season as an active player and was given the titles of team vice-president and assistant manager of the club. As long as Babe was in the lineup, Braves' owner Emil Fuchs figured the stands would be filled. It soon became apparent to Ruth that these titles were given to him only to lure him in.

It also reminds me of the story of another baseball legend's time as a manager. Ty Cobb, or so the story goes, went to the mound to talk to his struggling pitcher. "Son," Ty said, "I'd love to talk to 'ya about what your doing, but I don't know anything about pitching." And what, I must ask, does Diego know about the tactics and discipline needed to lead the Albicelestes out of it's current funk?

I'm afraid that the answer will be nothing, that he'll flop, and dispite all of the talent available to him Argentina could well end up not even qualifying for World Cup 2010.

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