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Updated: June 25, 2010, 2:28 AM ET

Watching a manager go is rarely easy

By Eduardo Perez
ESPN
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There's a unique dynamic between players and managers that only those within the clubhouse can truly understand. With the dismissal of Baltimore Orioles manager Dave Trembley earlier in the month, and now Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, I started reflecting on my time as both a player during a managerial change and as a manager myself.

[+] EnlargeDave Trembley
AP Photo/Rob CarrThe Orioles fired Dave Trembley on June 4 with Baltimore the owner of a baseball-worst 15-39 record.

In my playing days, I experienced two manager firings. The first was when I was with the California Angels in 1994. I was new to the league at the time and our manager, Buck Rogers, was replaced by Marcel Lachemann. The move definitely surprised me and I think we all took it personally. As a professional baseball player, you have a sense of responsibility for your manager's job, and you don't necessarily realize how close it hits to home -- until he's gone. If you're underperforming as a player and your manager gets dismissed, you know it's not all his fault.

The other managerial change I was a part of took place with Cincinnati back in 1997. It had been rumored that Ray Knight was out the door, so we weren't all shocked when Jack McKeon took over. Still, it's tough when the guy who's writing you into the lineup night in and night out is no longer part of the team. Besides, a new manager coming in means changes can happen. And you don't want to be one of those changes. It doesn't motivate you to play any harder -- you should always be out doing your job to the best of your ability -- but you realize the importance of playing consistent baseball so those unfortunate situations can be avoided.

That being said, it's something that managers sign up for when they take on their role. "Scapegoat? Signature here, please."

But there's no safe situation in any position in baseball. If you aren't getting it done as a player, you'll be released or sent down to the minors. And if you aren't getting it done as a hitting coach, like Mariners hitting coach Alan Cockrell earlier this season, you'll be shown the door. Everybody is evaluated and everybody has to be responsible for his job situation.

Let's not forget that the last time the Marlins changed managers midseason, Jack McKeon replaced Jeff Torborg and they went on to defeat the Yankees in the 2003 World Series. Now, was that luck? Maybe. Was it just that McKeon inherited a really good team? Probably. But being good on paper isn't what being a manager is about. It's about motivating 30 individuals (I include the coaching staff) to believe in one goal.

New managers aren't going to come in and shake up the lineup on their first day on the job, but they need to remember to be themselves. Staying true to your personality and your style is one of the most important aspects of managing. Players will respect you for it, and gradually you'll figure out ways to get everyone on the same page.

In addition to managing the winter league Leones de Ponce in Puerto Rico, next month I'll be managing the Puerto Rico national team. I bring my own fire to each team and keep in touch with all my players while still maintaining that balance of respect and authority. You have to know which buttons to push, not only with your players but with your staff, and that can be a fine line to walk. But the bottom line is that you have to try not to meet expectations, but to exceed them.

Eduardo Perez is an analyst for "Baseball Tonight."

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