Seven years of losing baseball were too many, even for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Manager Phil Garner was fired and General Manager Sal Bando was reassigned today in a shakeup of the perennially underachieving team. The Brewers are 52-60 and appear headed to their seventh straight losing season.
Hitting coach Jim Lefebvre was appointed interim manager and will be on the bench when Milwaukee begins a seven-game road trip at Arizona on Friday.
Bando said he proposed both changes, and Garner said his firing was "justified."
"We didn't play up to my expectations or their expectations," Garner said. "In this situation, I think it's deserved."
Only three managers have longer tenures with their current clubs than Garner, who is both the winningest and losingest manager in team history. Only Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics had survived with a team through more consecutive losing seasons.
Brewers President Wendy Selig-Prieb said she was confident about her overhaul of the team she took over last year from her father, baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
"This is a results business, make no mistake about it," Selig-Prieb said. "This is not a complacent organization. We will not accept mediocrity."
Bando and Garner, teammates with the Oakland Athletics, joined the Brewers together in October 1991. Selig-Prieb said the two were "inextricably linked" in the minds of fans and other teams, making a dual change necessary.
Bando, who will remain with the Brewers as a special assistant to Selig-Prieb, refused to say whether one specific incident prompted his decision.
"I'm a Brewer, and I've been a Brewer since 1977," said Bando, a former third baseman in Milwaukee. "We needed to make a change for the sake of the organization, and that's always my first priority."
Selig-Prieb said she will hire a general manager and the GM will hire the next manager. She did not set any timetables. Until a new GM is found, Selig-Prieb and assistant GM Fred Stanley will be responsible for the Brewers' baseball decisions.
"I hadn't made a decision at the all-star break," she said when asked about the timing. "We want to focus on the last six weeks of the season."
Selig-Prieb said rumors that former Brewers stars Paul Molitor and Robin Yount would be considered for the positions were premature.
"That's so far ahead of where I am in the process," she said. "I will move as quickly as I can, but speed is not my primary concern."
A typically upbeat Garner was reluctant to criticize the small-market Brewers' penny-pinching ways and depleted farm system.
"Those things are frustrating, but those aren't my jobs, either," Garner said.