Sandgnats Oust Manager and Hire New Manager on Same Day

Updated: August 26, 2016


Sandgnats Oust Manager and Hire New Manager on Same Day
Updated: February 3, 2024 – 05:30PM EDT

By Howard Heskin, Staff Writer – Twitter @HowardHeskin1

The winds of change continued to sweep through the Sandgnats on Thursday afternoon as the team announced it will fire manager Enrique Rivera and hired former Bakersfield Bears Manager Joe Matterson who has spent the last 2 seasons out of baseball.

“The conclusion I reached was that we needed a fresh perspective in the baseball operations department,” said at a press conference Saturday afternoon. “I think in fairness, it would be difficult to make the case that Enrique Rivera did not do good work while he was here. I think he really did. I had a chance to watch him personally navigate through this past few weeks when I was brought on board. I think this organization is going to bare the fruits of his labors for years to come based on what he did last year. But if I’m entrusted to create a baseball operations department that is going to compete and achieve success and sustain success over a long period of time, I felt that a change was required.” Ermola stated at today’s press conference introducing Matterson.

“We have had an extended period of time of success here, but have not won it all. I think we needed to bring someone on board who has won a championship and can bring this organization to the next level. Joe is that guy we believe. Joe, our bench coach and I are on the same page about what this roster should look like.”

“It’s never an easy decision to make a change,” Ermola said in his statement today. “Enrique had a direct impact on one of the best years in the team’s history. He helped to create some great memories for Sandgnats fans with his accomplishment, but in order to return to a top-contending club, we believe this is the right thing to do as we continue the process of building a championship team. This was a more difficult decision than I anticipated it was going to be,” Ermola said. “When I came in here, saw the record, saw that seven game series against Aurora, I didn’t think this one was going to be as hard as it turned out to be. But again, I’m charged with a certain responsibility. I have a responsibility to the franchise, the fans, ownership to do what I think is best and get this thing back to where it was as quickly as I can and efficiently as I can. That was the basis for my decision.”

Joe Matterson is well known for his strong leadership with the Bakersfield Bears where he won back to back PEBA championships in 2016 and 2017. He brings an impressive 1044-666 win/loss record to the table as well. “We also found that Joe will have an Excellent developmental influence on our players and has already established a good relationship with the present roster.” stated Ermola. “Enrique just did not have that same level of trust with the players after the game 7 meltdown in last year’s playoffs.”

“I have all the trust in the world in him,” Ermola said of Matterson.