Manuel Transition

burp charlie!

I really do not know why there is such uproar over the hiring of Charlie Manuel as the next Phillies manager. Since last July, when it was rumored that Manuel would replace a hastily fired Larry Bowa, I have had no problem with the thought of Manuel leading the Phils. Nor was I surprised that he would be their first choice. He’s a known product for them and he’s already in great with their superstar. And oh yeah, he was a great manager in Cleveland.

I listened Thursday as callers on WIP supported the hiring of Jim Leyland, mostly because Howard Eskin told them to. But none of them gave a solid reason beyond the old sports cliché of being “a tough-talker who knows how to win.” It sounded a lot like their reason for bringing in Bowa before he was actually hired and everyone’s view of him changed.

Then today the Inquirer put Stephan A. Smith on the case. Stephen A., with his usual brilliant and well-considered thoughts, implies that Manuel’s hiring will be the final nail in Ed Wade’s coffin.

What’s Stephen A.’s problem with choosing Manuel? It’s a lazy pick by Wade because Manuel came from within. Manuel has never won a ring. Nobody else had interviewed Manuel. Okay, so whom does Stephen A. suggest? First off, Don Baylor. Sure, people have been beating down his door lately. And I wouldn’t call him a proven winner with his 627-689 record. The only World Series ring he has is from his playing days, and Bowa had that. Baylor is not the man to take you to the next level.

Who else? Stephen A. likes Terry Pendleton (interestingly, Stephen A. lists the two minority candidates first). Hmmm, a rookie manager named Terry. Been there, done that. Next, Leyland, that tough-talker. What has Leyland been doing for the last five years since he quit baseball? This tough-talker has been sounding like Mr. Wishy-Washy in the press since he first expressed interest in the position. What guarantee was there that he would stick around if the going got tough? He certainly didn’t do that in Colorado.

Then Stephen A. suggests Grady Little. Contrary to popular belief, Little isn’t a great manager who’s forever marked by the one bad decision of leaving Pedro in too long against the Yankees. He was a terrible manager who didn’t know how to stop fiddling with his lineup. In both Boston and Houston he was known for making some pretty bizarre moves. Plus his answers to the press, which everyone seems to think is so important for the Phillies’ pick, usually boiled down to “because I said so.” (Just like all the conversations between my 7-year-old and me.)

Stephen A. then goes into admitting that Wade did some good by bringing in Jim Thome, Eric Milton, and Billy Wagner. Then he blames Wade for losing Curt Schilling and Scott Rolen while admitting that it really wasn’t Wade’s fault. Huh? Which is it? Does Stephen A. really think that we could have afforded the first 3 players if we still had the other 2 players?

The Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury, who actually watched baseball before this year, also wrote an article in today’s paper. Like me, he thinks we should give Manuel a chance. He is a proven winner. He has proved that he can get a team to play up to their expectations and has proved that he can do this without hostility towards the players or the press. He has gotten a team to the World Series, which right now would be good enough for me.

So give him a chance. As I see it, any man who straightens out a young Thome’s swing by having him emulate Roy Hobbs is all right by me.


At 6:04 AM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

Wasn't Grady Little the neighbor on Sanford and Son?


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