On Thursday afternoon, Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane formally introduced Bob Melvin as interim manager, a few hours after the team announced that Bob Geren had been fired. Melvin takes over a team that is currently nine games under .500 and sitting in last place in the AL West. In an earlier teleconference, Beane had indicated the focus had been primarily on Geren at this point and the move was needed to refocus the team on the goal of winning baseball games and executing on the field.
The press conference was fairly short and naturally filled with a lot of cliches. However there were a few interesting comments worth noting. The most notable was probably Beane's description of Melvin as a bright guy who represents a "modern-day type of manager." Nobody followed up on that comment but afterward in the Press Conference Live studio, CSN's Paul Gutierrez described it as an independent, free-thinking type of manager. If that's the case it will be interesting to see how that meshes with Billy Beane who has often been accused of not really caring who is manager and that the role isn't all that important.
Based on the comments, it sounds like Melvin and Beane go pretty far back, which explains why things happened relatively quickly. You don't normally see an outsider brought in as an interim manager, but given their relationship and how early in the season it is, the move makes sense. Beane discussed how respected Melvin was around the league and by his former players. Given the comments by current and former A's about Geren, that is probably an important distinction. And while it probably wasn't a significant reason for the hire (if a reason at all), but it's interesting to note that Melvin's own ties to the area. He grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from Menlo-Atherton High before playing baseball at Cal.