Back in October, 2010, before the start of the NLCS (remember when the Phillies used to play in those?), Charlie Manuel doubly cited Pat Burrell and Ric Flair, two hardened sages, when talking about the Phillies' upcoming series with the eventual champions, the San Francisco Giants. As told by John Gonzalez, then of Philly.com:
"I heard [Pat] Burrell in an interview [Thursday] morning, when I woke up and turned the TV on. He said, 'To be the best you've got to beat the best.' That's one of my slogans. That's Ric Flair," Manuel said, referring to the legendary wrestler while the crowd chuckled. "Going to Space Mountain – what the hell. You know, like what happens at Space Mountain, you've got to get there and conquer it. You've got to stay there. That's what we want to do."
It was then that we learned Manuel was a wrestling fan. So it should come as no surprise that Cholly was sitting ringside at WWE Raw at the Wells Fargo Center last night:
That looks to be Phillies PR man Greg Casterioto with Charlie, but it’s hard to tell for sure. They sat just behind Jerry The King Lawler, of whom Charlie is a big fan.
In an interview with cjonline.com earlier this year, Lawler told this story about Manuel:
"I have been fortunate to meet a lot of people in baseball. Kenny Lofton is a friend of mine and I did a piece of art work for his organization, “Kenny’s Kids.” Charlie Manuel is a big WWE fan. One time I was at the park and walked by his office. He had a bunch of scouts in his office, saw me walk by and stopped me. He kicked out all of the scouts from his office, sat down in his chair and wanted to talk about a beating that Stone Cold (Steve Austin) had taken the night before."
Me thinks The King hooked Charlie up with some seats.
Manuel, of course, isn’t the first Philly sports figure to show up at a WWE event. Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and many Eagles and Sixers have gone, and, last year, Chris Pronger and Peter Laviolette hung out with John Cena before Pronger headed to his ringside seats.
But many of those appearances are staged, part of the never-ending circle of cross-promotion, with players seated in direct view of the camera. And while that may be the case with Manuel, I get the feeling that Chuck just wanted to see some good ol’ wrasslin, behind his pal, Jerry The King Lawler.