ALTOONA, Pa. -- Michael Ryan has been dismissed as Altoona Curve manager, multiple sources have told our Dejan Kovacevic.
Ryan, who notched his 500th career managerial victory within the Pirates' organization this season, is the Curve's franchise leader in victories, amassing 221 wins and leading the team to first-place finishes and playoff berths in 2017 and 2018, as well as the club's second Eastern League Championship in 2017.
The 2019 season saw the Curve suffer from a lack of consistency and a lack of overall prospects as they limped to a 69-71 overall record, missing the playoffs for the first time in Ryan's tenure. Over his three seasons, Ryan amassed a 221-197 record.
“We have informed Michael Ryan that he would not be managing in Altoona for the 2020 season," Larry Broadway, the Pirates' director of player development, said in a statement, "and discussed other potential non-managing roles in the organization with him. Michael is exploring opportunities with other organizations and we support his efforts. We appreciate Michael’s efforts and who he is as a person and wish him well.”
Last week, during a four-game winning streak, Ryan commented, "Sometimes people from the outside will look at the record on how successful that season was, and how you finish above .500 or below .500 is how you're judged upon sometimes. Of course, it looks good record-wise to finish over .500. I'm just proud of the way they're playing right now."
Many believed Ryan was one of the top coaching and managerial prospects in the Pirates' organization, and we profiled what coaching meant to him earlier this summer. So was there any specific reason for the move?
"Really nothing," another source told me via text message. "Just wanted to make changes."
Ryan later confirmed that directly to me, stating "They just said they are making a change and not bringing me back to the organization."
An Indiana, Pa., native, Ryan began his coaching career as a player/coach in 2011 before being named manager of the West Virginia Power in 2013. As manager of the Power, Ryan was 136-139 with a playoff berth in 2013. Following his stint in Charleston, W.Va., Ryan was named manager of the High-A Bradenton Marauders where he found instant success.
With the Marauders, Ryan was 144-130, ultimately winning the 2016 Florida State League Championship prior to making his way to Altoona. As a player, Ryan appeared in 149 games in the major leagues with the Twins and Angels.
It seems this is an isolated firing as both pitching coach Joel Hanrahan and hitting coach Jon Nunnally are still with the organization and will be coaching in the instructional league.
Ryan wasn't the only manager in the organization fired today. Bradenton manager Wyatt Toregas was also let go after guiding the Marauders to a 73-62 overall record and missing the Florida State League playoffs.
It's a blatant scapegoating. Which is what happens when people get desperate. I'm told that Ryan was fired over the phone. And not by Neal Huntington or Kyle Stark -- the people who made the decision to scapegoat him -- but by Broadway. Ladies and gents, your Pittsburgh Pirates. All class.
I'm further told -- from within the organization, I might add -- that Ryan was fired because he "didn't do enough culture development with player plans and other Hoka Hey nonsense." There was no elaboration here, but you get the idea.
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