A heart attack influenced Tom Lasorda to resign as manager of the Dodgers last week. At the least, sources have said, it influenced the club owner, Peter O'Malley, to suggest to Lasorda that this was the appropriate time to resign.
Did a lack of heart among his players influence Marcel Lachemann to resign as manager of the Angels?
Tony Tavares, president of Disney Sports Enterprises, implied it on a day when Lachemann wouldn't.
"This is a team that hasn't focused on being a team," Tavares said. "I don't like all the 'I' and 'me' stuff I've read [from the players] in the last week.
"I'm concerned that there hasn't been anybody stand up and take a leadership role. Everybody talks about how much we miss Tony Phillips, but nobody has buckled their belt and taken on those leadership responsibilities. They're certainly being compensated well enough.
"It's sad that Lach took a bullet for the lack of performance by the entire organization. I was never disappointed with Marcel's effort, but I've been terribly disappointed with the collective effort of the players.
"Maybe Bill [Bavasi, the general manager] and I overestimated the ability. We're going to use the rest of the season to find out which of these players want to play."
The heart rate?
Lachemann believes in accountability too much to blame others.
Forget that this may have been the most underachieving (and uninspiring?) team in the history of an underachieving franchise.
Despite the perception, the view from the owner's box, Lachemann insisted Monday that his players were giving total effort.
It was the results that weren't there, he said.
"What we were doing wasn't working and there was no indication it was going to work," he said. "It was tearing me up. I wasn't comfortable taking my paycheck.
"When you have the authority, you have the responsibility.
"I was at a point where I couldn't do anything without [the frustration] permeating my whole life."
Welcome back John McNamara, the interim manager.
McNamara, 64, has managed six major league teams, which is a record for recycling that he shares with Jimmy Dykes, Rogers Hornsby and Dick Williams.
He managed the Angels for Buzzie Bavasi, father of the current general manager, in 1983 and '84 and was in his fifth year instructing catchers in the Angel farm system, where it wasn't necessary to apply an EKG to the performance level of the young players.
He may find that it now is at the major league level.
It was only a few days ago that Chuck Finley said his team should be arrested for loitering.
It was only a few days ago that Lachemann hinted at what was to come when he said that he didn't know how much longer he could watch this performance.
He goes out as the 15th manager in the 36 years that the Angels have been in business.
Despite his managerial inexperience, he was hired by the younger Bavasi at expense of respected Buck Rodgers during the ownership of Gene and Jackie Autry.
In a remarkable run of stability and continuity, Lasorda managed the Dodgers for 20 years, predecessor Walter Alston for 23.
What now for the Angels and what has seemed to be a biannual pattern of managerial changes?
What are Disney's dictates regarding the hiring of a manager for 1997, since McNamara is strictly interim?
What is the profile and image that media-conscious, PG-rated Disney seeks in its first managerial hire?
Bavasi said he has discussed the matter with Tavares and received no restrictions or guidelines "other than to turn over every rock and put together the best list possible."
"We're not looking for a guy who has wings or pixie dust," Bavasi said. "We're not looking for a guy who fits any prototype Disney image.
"We'll put together a long list, narrow it to a short list, and go from there."
He has already started a list. Known to be on it are Jim Lefebvre, Don Long (the club's triple-A manager), Davey Lopes, Sparky Anderson, Reggie Smith, Phil Regan, Rene Lachemann, Bobby Valentine, Chris Chambliss and Tim Johnson, a coach with the Boston Red Sox.
Optimistically, Bavasi said, he hopes to make a hire before the general managers' meeting in early November.
Said assistant general manager Tim Mead:
"If there's a positive to Lach making his decision when he did it's that we have two or three months to conduct a patient search. It's like we can place an ad. We can send scouts to look at younger guys managing in the minors and we can call general managers to ask who they had on their list before they made a decision."
In the meantime, the interim manager said he doesn't arrive with any magic message or elixir.
"The one thing I would emphasize [to the players] is that it doesn't take a special talent to hustle and play hard," McNamara said.
"I've watched a few games on satellite and I haven't seen a lack of effort. Players make the manager, and pitchers make the manager even smarter. The thing that has to be juiced up is the pitching."
And the adrenaline? It will be monitored closely while Disney looks for a new manager. Pixie Dust? It wouldn't hurt.
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Man In the Middle
Marcel Lachemann's winning percentage puts him in the middle of the 14 men who have managed the Angels on a full-time basis. Angel managers' winning percentages:
Gene Mauch: .533
Doug Rader: .518
Norm Sherry: .517
Lefty Phillips: .497
Jim Fregosi: .488
Cookie Rojas: .487
Marcel Lachemann: .485*
Del Rice: .484
Dave Garcia: .476
Bill Rigney: .469
John McNamara: .466
Bob Winkles: .462
Buck Rodgers: .450
Dick Williams: .431
* Does not include three wins and one loss as interim manager in 1992
Source: Angel media guide