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SHOWALTER LOSING CONTROL IN PHOENIX.

Byline: Brian Dohn

Dodgers manager Davey Johnson is under fire for his managerial style and for not producing more wins with a payroll of $98 million.

If things don't improve, Johnson most likely will be gone. But he's not the only manager in the National League West in jeopardy of losing his job.

Buck Showalter, long-regarded as an excellent manager with an overbearing style and a penchant for trying to re-invent the way the game is managed, is also in trouble. And while the rumblings have grown during the season, a column calling for his job this week in an Arizona paper has stirred debate in Phoenix.

Showalter joined the Arizona organization a year before the Diamondbacks started playing at the major-league level and has been integral in building the club into a perennial playoff contender, but is now in trouble because the clubhouse and organization is about to crumble around him.

Word out of Arizona is that Showalter, notorious for being a control freak, has annoyed a bunch of people throughout the organization. He's also shown a lack of respect, and those close to the situation say he's angered people close to Arizona CEO Jerry Colangelo.

``Every manager has his own style,'' Colangelo said. ``Managers are no different than players. They are who they are. They don't change. Some are loose, some are intense. People are who they are.''

And Showalter is a control freak.

The Diamondbacks lived with it through their first few years because, at first, they were young and building. And, lately, because they won.

However, now the Diamondbacks are slumping. They've fallen two games behind San Francisco in the West despite acquiring Curt Schilling before the trading deadline. But while Schilling won his first three starts with Arizona, lefty Randy Johnson hasn't won since the deal went down.

The feeling in Arizona is if the Diamondbacks reach the playoffs, Showalter would survive. But if things don't improve, Showalter likely would be axed.

Colangelo said Showalter has ``done a very good job,'' but he didn't give a full endorsement of his manager's standing in the organization, nor state that he would be back next season. Colangelo also said the feeling around this club was very different from the one that won 100 games last season, though they've had a bundle of injuries to deal with this season.

``Buck was hired to do a job,'' Colangelo said. ``He's done his job to the best of his ability, and we've had a lot of success under his management. This year has been marred by all kinds of adversity as far as I'm concerned, in terms of injuries and so on and so forth, which has really taken its toll. I would say that he has done a very good job.

``The one thing that is noticeable, because of the adversity, it hasn't been as much fun as we had a year ago because we had one of those years where everything was fantastic. Because we've had the adversity this year, the atmosphere hasn't been quite the same.''

One thing Colangelo will do is decide on Showalter's future himself.

``I really don't need any advice from anyone. I've been around this business too long. I think my 34 years of experience in pro sports qualifies me to make decisions and do what I believe is necessary or required.

``My feelings are kept to myself and I respond when I think it's necessary to respond, one way or the other. Right now I'd rather just concentrate on playing good baseball, getting healthy and winning games.''

Winning games is the key part. If the Diamondbacks do it, Showalter likely will return. Otherwise, Arizona will be looking for its second manager.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 13, 2000
Words:634
Previous Article:AMERICAN LEAGUE AROUND THE HORN: VAUGHN SAYS THERE'S NO MO EXCUSES.
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