Both Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel need (needed) to go. There’s no disputing that. But at this point in the season, with the Phillies 407 games out of a playoff spot and quickly becoming a box score punchline, there was no reason not to let Charlie, at the very least, manage one final game in Philadelphia. Or let him finish the season and have a mini farewell tour.
Or, you know, let him go out with a shred of dignity.
He’s earned the right to do that.
Instead, Manuel and Amaro – the biggest culprit in the Phillies’ demise, who is still employed – met for coffee for a week straight before Amaro, on Wednesday, decided that Manuel would manage his last game with the Phillies that night.
No one was told about it.
Not the players.
Not the fans.
Not the media.
No one other than (most likely) key Phillies personnel.
How do you let that man, Manuel, who will go down as one of if not the most beloved managers in Philly sports history, manage his last game, knowing it’s his last game, without telling anybody? That’s cold. And fucked up.
If you’re going to fire him, fire him. Don’t let him put that uniform on for the last time without being able to share his emotions with anyone. [The only time there was a hint of a quiver in Charlie's voice during the press conference was when he talked about that very thing.]
Manuel deserved to tip his cap. At least once. If there was going to be a last game, he deserved to have his players and the fans know about it. He earned that right.
But no. The Phillies kept it quiet and let Manuel slip out the proverbial back door aided by a gentle nudge from the heel of Amaro’s overpriced shoe.
Ryne Sandberg was informed of his promotion on Thursday.
The Phillies then waited another day to tell everyone.
They waited until 2:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon during one of the biggest vacation weeks of the year. That’s where news goes to die. That’s where sports talk radio’s grip on public opinion – which undoubtedly will be negative toward the Phillies – gives way to beers, dinner and assorted off-time debauchery.
Why did they wait until 2:30 p.m. on a Friday? They waited so that the backlash of firing their beloved, long-time, World Series-winning, folksy manager would be diluted by a summer’s weekend, and so that reaction to Manuel’s firing would be coupled with news and reactions to Sandberg’s promotion and his performance during a three-game set against the Dodgers.
Sandberg’s introductory press conference was held exactly 15 minutes after a wounded Manuel walked off the podium.
This isn’t about Ryne Sandberg– it’s about Charlie Manuel.
Here’s a little secret: Sometimes when I have a post that I really don’t like or that I’m not real proud of, I’ll do my best to get something – anything – else up on the site so that its impact on the homepage is lessened. It doesn’t go away, but, slowly, it gets buried.
That’s what the Phillies did today. Hey, let’s announce a radical change 48 hours after it happened and then quickly pile more news on top of it. Maybe people will forget by Monday.
Ew. Fuck you.
That’s lame and cowardly from an overly sensitive organization. If there’s one person who deserved a bit of an unconventional exit, it was Manuel, perhaps the only guy in the world who can be believed when he says that he wouldn’t want to get fired and then still be paid the remainder of his contract (he actually said that). The guy who took the blame, as the manager, for much of the team’s performance, while Amaro, the guy responsible for this mess, spread it around to the entire organization.
Even worse is that the team had planned to honor Manuel before the game tonight for his 1,000th win. Was it so important to install Sandberg as manager of this shit team today? Why not wait until after the game? Or next Monday? Or just do it Wednesday, when the decision was made? If you’re going to let Manuel manage the team once after he’s already been fired, why not let him do it twice?
How do you send a dead man walking out for his last game with only his own thoughts and memories from a lifetime in the game with which to share the moment?
How fucking tone deaf are the Phillies not to see that was a mistake?
The season is shot. Sandberg is going to be the next manager. The Phillies will have a hard time getting a read on him over the next six weeks with this terrible team. His promotion could have waited a day, a week, or until the end of the season. But the Phillies decided otherwise and let a beloved man make his likely exit from the game on a lousy night in Atlanta. Fuck that.