Sorry Charlie…

Posted: August 16, 2013 in Phillies
The Phillies fired manager Charlie Manuel today after nearly 8 seasons.

The Phillies fired manager Charlie Manuel today after nearly 8 seasons.

This season has been a total mess for the Phillies.
Today, with the team well on its way to their first losing season since 2000, the Phillies fired manager Charlie Manuel and named third base coach Ryne Sandberg interim manager.
This was the last year of Charlie Manuel’s contract and many fans (myself included) were certain that this would be his final year as manager. However, the timing of the move is a little surprising. Many people were hoping that the Phillies would at least wait until the end of the season and let Charlie retire. Instead, General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. decided to make the change now and evaluate Ryne Sandberg as a big league manager.
Manuel, who was hired in 2005, faced some criticism early on but soon silenced the critics when the Phillies began to show signs of improvement. Manuel led the Phillies to the National League East Championship in 2007, their first since 1993, after the New York Mets finished of an epic collapse on the last day of the season.
It was after this season that Charlie really started to win over the city of Philadelphia, which is no easy task by any means.
The next year the Phillies repeated as NL East Champions en route to capturing just the second World Series title in franchise history, and their first since 1980. Charlie’s 2008 club played some of the best baseball under Manuel that year. By this point, the Phils had become the talk of Philadelphia and Charlie Manuel was simply known as “Charlie” amongst fans.
Under Manuel, the Phils went on to win the NL East in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Only two other managers in recent years can lay claim to this feat: Bobby Cox (with the Atlanta Braves) and Joe Torre (with the New York Yankees), not bad company for Manuel to be with.
As remarkable a feat as 5 straight division titles is, and it certainly is no small feat, the Phillies postseason performance started to decline after the 2008 season.
The 2009 Phillies came within two outs of repeating as World Series Champions, falling to the New York Yankees in 6 games. The next year, despite boosting their rotation with the addition of Roy Halladay, the Phils fell to the San Francisco Giants (who went on to win the World Series) in 6 games. The 2011 club won a remarkable 102 games in the regular season, only to fall in 5 games to the St. Louis Cardinals (who went on to win the World Series that year).
2012 saw the Philles miss the postseason for the first time since 2006. It was at this point that some fans began to wonder if the clock was ticking on Charlie. After all, the Phillies has been stellar in the regular season but saw their season end a round earlier each year: 2009 – lost World Series, 2010 – lost NLCS – 2011 – lost NLDS, 2012 – missed playoffs.
After a struggling 2013 season, general manager finally made the decision today to replace Manuel with third base coach Ryne Sandberg.
However, it would be grossly unfair to place all of the blame on Charlie Manuel. After all, the core of the Phillies lineup was starting to show their age. Jimmy Rollins (34 years old), Chase Utley (34 years old) and Ryan Howard (33 years old) are all entering the later stages of their careers. Not to mention injuries in the starting rotation and a bullpen about as bad as any Phillies bullpen has ever been didn’t help the Phils either.
Now that a change has been made at manager, it is time for general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to man up and take responsibility for his mistakes. As the core of the lineup began to show his age, Amaro failed to get younger up and coming stars to mold and make stars in the big leagues. Recently Cody Asche, Domonic Brown, Kevin Frandsen and Darin Ruf have had a more prominent role in the lineup, however they should have been utilized sooner.
Charlie Manuel will remain with the Phillies organization as an advisor to Ruben Amaro Jr. To Manuel’s credit, he exited in just about the classiest way he could. No complaints, no throwing anyone under the bus and no nonsense. He did have some kind words to say to the fans: “Keep coming to the yard. Love baseball. Support the Phillies”. And support the Phillies I will.
Thank you Charlie. You will go down as the greatest manager in the 130 year history of the Philadelphia Phillies.

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