Braves reverse field, make right call firing Larry Parrish

Larry Parrish

Larry Parrish

(UPDATED: 5 p.m.)

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had said Thursday that his entire coaching staff would be back, including hitting coach Larry Parrish. Either he changed his mind or somebody changed it for him.

The Braves announced Friday that Parrish will not be back after one horrible season. Who ever made the decision — Gonzalez or general manager Frank Wren — it was the correct one.

Fredi Gonzalez

Fredi Gonzalez

Wren’s name, but not Gonzalez’, is on the news release, which was emailed at 3:40 p.m.

According to our David O’Brien, Wren met with Parrish Thursday afternoon and made the decision to fire him after no being satisfied with Parrish’s answers.

Parrish’s biography was immediately removed from the team’s website.

Somebody needed to be held accountable for the Braves’ going 10-20 down the stretch of the season and missing the playoffs.

There was no excuse for the Braves’ offensive woes for much of this season. It can be debated just how much blame or credit a hitting coach should get for a player’s fortunes. But the team’s collective shortcomings were so glaring this season that a change seemed unavoidable, which is why many were surprised when Gonzalez quickly stated that Parrish would be back.

The news release was brief:

ATLANTA, Ga. – Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren announced today that hitting coach Larry Parrish will not return for the 2012 season.  A search for a new hitting coach will begin immediately.

The remainder of the Braves staff, including bench coach Carlos Tosca, pitching coach Roger McDowell, first-base coach Terry Pendleton, third-base coach Brian Snitker and bullpen coach Eddie Perez, will all return for 2012.

As O’Brien reported in his blog, the Braves ranked 26th in the majors in batting average (.243) and on-base percentage (.308) after finishing fourth in on-base percentage (.339) under former hitting coach Terry Pendleton. They also hit only .205 in the final 12 games (3-9) and .195 with runners in scoring position in September.

When he originally announced Parrish would be retained, Gonzalez said: “I think if you hire people, let them do their job. … It’s easy to fire somebody and throw somebody to the wolves. That’s not the way I work.”

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

324 comments Add your comment

unknown hinson

September 30th, 2011
4:03 pm

Hell yeeeyuh

kevin

September 30th, 2011
4:04 pm

There is a GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! first!!

kevin

September 30th, 2011
4:04 pm

dang no first :(

Clayton

September 30th, 2011
4:04 pm

Something had to give

AthensDawg

September 30th, 2011
4:05 pm

Thank goodness!

bobby

September 30th, 2011
4:06 pm

Now if they can only get someone to hit when there are men on base.

Realist

September 30th, 2011
4:07 pm

Frank Wren has two titles. That makes him sound so important. His results as GM do not.

De Donde Julio

September 30th, 2011
4:12 pm

They should hire Chipper’s dad

Sammy P

September 30th, 2011
4:12 pm

I think something had to happen – c’mon, you think Braves fans would have felt that brass was taking this situation seriously if nothing happened? I don’t think so. I mean, the Red Sox just parted ways with Francona! Not sure if you can positively attribute the team’s failings to LP, but let’s be honest – the entire year was a strugle for the offense. Now, if only Liberty Media would agree to spend some money to get a reputable and established hitting coach – asking for too much, right?

SimpleDawg

September 30th, 2011
4:13 pm

Better to release Parrish than to be released.

foultip

September 30th, 2011
4:14 pm

Would Terry consider the job. He did have the advantage of seeing our hitters, make that batters, from a different angle then the dugout.

hornblowermg

September 30th, 2011
4:15 pm

where is Mike Schmitt ?

John OTC

September 30th, 2011
4:16 pm

Why wasn’t this done in July?

count_schemula

September 30th, 2011
4:16 pm

McCann’s brother helped McCann and Chipper worked with Heyward with some success. Never heard anything positive about Parrish. I’m still to sick over the collapse to care that much though.

Clay

September 30th, 2011
4:16 pm

It’s a shame Chipper has a year left on his contract. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in this role.

The Living Legend

September 30th, 2011
4:18 pm

Hire Mark Grace!!!!!!!!!!! He was a hitter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not a slugger, but a hitter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Said last year they should hire Mark Grace, but no one listens to me. Great hitter, and great mentor to take Freeman to the next level. Just saying……….

BrianSC

September 30th, 2011
4:18 pm

Well, well, well…

Somebody finally wised up and made a change. I was very disappointed yesterday to find out that no changes were being made to the staff after this disasterous ending to the season. A change HAD to be made, and somebody HAD to go. Somebody had to be held accountable. The hitting coach position was the biggest glaring weakness from this season.

Now…

1. Hire a hitting coach with EXPERIENCE…MAJOR LEAGUE EXPERIENCE.

2. Get Jason Heyward straightened out. If the new hitting coach needs to work with J-Hey evey day during the offseason, then do it. The Braves cannot afford to have another terrible year from the RF position.

3. Teach plate discipline. Re-teach the offensive philosophy of selective hitting at the plate. Get deep in counts. Get the opposing pitcher’s pitch count up.

4. Teach situational hitting and execution with RISP. If they are on second or third, they have to come in.

If the new hitting coach works on those four things, I think the offseason will be successful.

rally

September 30th, 2011
4:19 pm

Kudos to all Braves fans who posted their displeasure over Fredi’s announcement of yesterday. Perhaps we made a difference and maybe the front office finally heard our concerns. Well done.

Looking Forward to Freddie's reign...

September 30th, 2011
4:19 pm

Thank you. That is a great first step. I was not looking forward to having to boycott the Ted…I love the Braves, and this gives me a little more confidence that they are trying to hold management accountable for this disaster.

Foothills

September 30th, 2011
4:20 pm

When most of the team hits below the Mendoza line in the last month, well yeah, somethings gotta give. Really thought the young arms threw well enough to get us into the postseason but it was like we had a line-up full of Brad Kominsk in August.

Sons of Rick Matula

September 30th, 2011
4:21 pm

The right move. But players play … who were the hitting coaches all those years the Braves made the playoffs? Don Baylor, Clarence Jones. So what? That said, Parrish seemed to be useless.

TomDawg

September 30th, 2011
4:21 pm

We need someone that has won a batting title or two. A Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs type. Hell, what is Pete Rose up to these days? Just kidding. The main thing is, get someone that has some clout and seems to know what they are doing. If the Braves would have hit just a little with runners in scoring position over the past 2 weeks they would have held on and been in the playoffs. Anyone know what the Braves RISP average was over the last few weeks of the season? I’m guessing around .175.

Bobby Bobby

September 30th, 2011
4:21 pm

I guess Freddie is on the hot seat! He hired only 2 coaches and Wren goes over his head and fires one.

Heard It All Before

September 30th, 2011
4:22 pm

Perfect commentary on the season. Even in deciding to make a change, management comes off as indecisive.

Baker

September 30th, 2011
4:22 pm

Get rid of the hitting coach altogether. Just have another “coach”. So much blame for a position that can only do so much.

count_schemula

September 30th, 2011
4:22 pm

They did not listen to the fans. Please. There is a chance that Chipper gave Parrish the no confidence behind the scenes though.

George T.

September 30th, 2011
4:22 pm

Good move; however it shows that either Fredi is not in charge of the team ( I sure hope he is not) does not consultant with his boss (can’t believe that) or just very indecisive (we have seen that all season).
Solution to solve a couple of problems. Send Chip Cary down the road ; he is a very poor announcer. Make Joe Simpson the hitting coach. He gives his view night after night on what the hitters are doing wrong; we can see if he knows what he is talking about. This will give the Braves a hitting coach and free up the booth for real broadcasters who let the game serve as the entertainment.

tim

September 30th, 2011
4:23 pm

Next year..it will be Gonzalez who gets fired. Bye Bye Fredi.

wuky

September 30th, 2011
4:23 pm

Sorry Fredi but this was a no brainer.

GoldJacket

September 30th, 2011
4:23 pm

Bring back Don Baylor! Isn’t he with Arizona this year? If it only took 2 prospects to get Ozzie Guillen then can we send some bats and balls to the Diamondbacks for Baylor? Like we did for Kerry Lightenberg back in the day from Greg Olsen’s independent league team

freshd

September 30th, 2011
4:24 pm

They need to try and rehire Don Baylor who used to be the hitting coach.

TomDawg

September 30th, 2011
4:26 pm

Mark Grace would be another good one. Had not thought of him L.L..

Najeh Davenpoop

September 30th, 2011
4:27 pm

No guarantee that this will help or that his replacement will be better, but someone had to take the fall for the offensive underachievement. This was the right move. Now go get a replacement who will value patience and on-base percentage.

Sons of Rick Matula

September 30th, 2011
4:27 pm

This does make Freddi look bad … or bad-der, with apologies.

rally

September 30th, 2011
4:28 pm

Don Baylor needs to be remembered in our prayers. He has had cancer I believe and was taken to the hospital earlier today:

Diamondbacks Hitting Coach Don Baylor Taken To Hospital After Fainting

Amidst all the playoff planning by the Arizona Diamondbacks came a bit of a scary scene as hitting coach Don Baylor was taken from the visitors clubhouse on a stretcher after fainting due to some lightheadedness. He was taken to a local Milwaukee hospital as a precaution as well as some further evaluation according to Arizona GM Kevin Towers.

Initial reports from Milwaukee where Arizona Republic beat writer Nick Piecoro are encouraging. Piecoro reported that according to Towers, the initial tests were encouraging including an EKG heart test. A CT scan is planned and team doctors are with Baylor at the hospital.

http://arizona.sbnation.com/arizona-diamondbacks/2011/9/30/2460513/don-baylor-hospital-arizona-diamondbacks

garcia

September 30th, 2011
4:28 pm

Fredi should have kept his mouth shut until he met with Wren. As it stands, he looks pretty well neutered.

George Allen

September 30th, 2011
4:30 pm

Great…Now, who to Hire??? Chipper’s Dad? Terry Pendleton? How about someone with Experience of hitting well with RISP and fewer strikeouts. Too bad we can’t get Don Baylor, what is Fred McGriff doin’ these days?

GoldJacket

September 30th, 2011
4:30 pm

How about the Murph?

229 Bravesfan

September 30th, 2011
4:31 pm

GO BRAVES!!!!

Mister Frisky

September 30th, 2011
4:32 pm

This is a great start to the off season.This team was horrible at the plate except for opening day.These Braves were cowards under Parrish.They didn’t know if they should swing,take,or soil themselves.A few more heads rollin wouldn’t be bad either.

Rey

September 30th, 2011
4:33 pm

Hey guys, how do you feel about the Braves hiring Francona from Boston? I believe he’s on his way out the door and he’s an infinitely better head coach than Fredi Gonzalez.

chuckw/deadjournalist

September 30th, 2011
4:33 pm

tom emanski!

charlie sheen

September 30th, 2011
4:33 pm

Can’t hire Murph unless the other teams promise not to throw curveballs

HereWeGoAgain

September 30th, 2011
4:34 pm

It seems pretty simple to me. Joe Simpson, in the Braves broadcast booth, does a pretty good job of analyzing the players’ stances, the hitches in their swings, and noting when they are pulling out, dropping their elbows, stepping in the bucket or getting out on their front feet. he might even be able to help them anticipate the next pitches to expect. Record the Braves’ broadcasts and just make sure the players watch and listen the next day to his analyses to correct their problems.

GoldJacket

September 30th, 2011
4:34 pm

@chuckw: Classic!

Eric

September 30th, 2011
4:35 pm

Great freaking news! Great freaking news!

Steve

September 30th, 2011
4:36 pm

Does this mean that Fredi is in trouble?

William

September 30th, 2011
4:36 pm

Now when do we get to hear Freddie has been replaced by Francona?

phil57

September 30th, 2011
4:36 pm

garcia is correct. But you know…a lot of us posted here that we did not like the Parrish hire when it was announced. Braves need to look before leaping. Hitting coach is a critical position.

Piedmont Blues

September 30th, 2011
4:37 pm

Holy cr*p. And I mean that in a good way.