MILWAUKEE -- Keeping the Cincinnati Reds from giving up after a
horrible start has earned manager Jerry Narron another year in
The Reds extended his contract on Thursday through the 2006
season with a mutual option for 2007. Narron began the season as
the Reds bench coach and was appointed interim manager when Dave
Miley was fired June 21 after the team's 27-43 start.
Cincinnati is 46-43 under Narron.
"Really, the only reason I'm coming back is because the players
played well," Narron said. "With where we were in the standings,
what our record was, it would have been very easy to just pretty
much give up on the team part of it and just play individually.
"One thing they have done is continue to play as a team. This
is more of a credit to how they've played than anything I've
The Reds are finishing their fifth consecutive losing season,
their longest such streak since 1945-55.
"Since the All-Star Game, we've been playing a little bit
better," outfielder Adam Dunn said. "That's definitely a big
reason why he's coming back."
General manager Dan O'Brien credited Narron with the team's
"He earned the respect of the players, and I think Jerry's been
very consistent in his expectations of our club trying to play the
game the right way," O'Brien said.
Narron said he was happy with a one-year deal, considering that
some shares in the team are for sale. Three of the team's limited
owners are trying to sell their shares, representing 51.5 percent
of the Reds. Owner Carl Lindner can buy the shares and has said he
plans to retain his control over the team.
"With the circumstances, I have no problem with it," Narron
said. "I have confidence in myself and in the people that are here
to do everything we can, if it's kicking, scratching, clawing, to
win as many games as possible."
News of his extension was met by smiles in the Reds clubhouse.
"I think it's a great signing," outfielder Ryan Freel said.
"He has all the respect of the players and I think he's done a
heck of a job since he's been here and I think he deserves this
Freel said Narron's ability to communicate with the players
"has been phenomenal."
"I know all of the players respect him. He's been around for a
while. He knows what he's doing," Freel said. "Nothing against
Miley, he did everything he could, but the communication level
wasn't there and nobody know what was going on, nobody could get an
answer. On the flip side, Jerry will tell you straight-up whether
you like it or not and that's all a player can ask for."
Narron had a 134-162 record as Texas' manager in 2001-02. He was
Boston's bench coach in 2003 and managed four years in Baltimore's
minor league system.
Cincinnati said earlier this month that it would wait until
after the season to decide Narron's fate. The Reds completed their
final homestand last week, then headed for Milwaukee and St. Louis
to conclude the season.
O'Brien said the deal was announced now so that Narron could
talk to his players about next season and so that he could the
club's organizational meetings in Sarasota, Fla., next week.
O'Brien and other front-office officials have accompanied the team
on its final trip.
Narron said he would make decisions on his coaching staff within
the next week to 10 days.