In the midst of a season gone wrong, the Philadelphia Phillies have decided to part ways with manager Charlie Manuel. Ryne Sandberg, formerly the team’s third base coach, will step in and attempt to fill the huge shoes left behind in the wake of Manuel’s departure.
An extraordinarily difficult decision for the team to make, the 69 year old Manuel is the winningest manager in the history of the Phillies and was beloved by almost all within the organization. However baseball is a business, and no matter how much a person is liked, only wins and losses count when making a decision. Ultimately that was the way General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. reached his decision.
At 53-68 on the year, the Phillies season is all but lost. Trailing first place Atlanta in the National League Eastern division by 21.5 games, it is time to rebuild for next season. ESPN gives them just a 0.1 percent chance of making the postseason this year.
The Phillies announcement to fire Charlie Manuel turned emotional quickly. With Manuel seated next to him, Amaro broke down in front of the cameras as he told the world he had fired the Phillies manager of the past nine years.
“You people may not know the relationship I’ve had with Charlie. He’s a special person. This is difficult for me. I hope he stays in our organization,” Amaro said after telling the world Manuel, who was in the last year of his contract with the team, would no longer be managing the Phillies.
Leading his team to a World Series title in 2008, Charlie Manuel did a lot for a city that had been starved of a title in every major sport. Before becoming the World Champions of the baseball world, Philadelphia’s last title was an NBA Finals victory by the 76ers in 1983, a layoff of a quarter-century.
Despite making it clear that he was pushed out the door and fired by the Phillies by saying that “I never quit nothing and I didn’t resign,” Charlie Manuel still has a place in his heart for the Phillies.
He previously had stated that he planned on managing another several years before he decided to retire from the game he loved, he has remained classy in the wake of his being fired. According to Nesn.com, Manuel continued to speak highly of the Phillies organization after learning he no longer worked for the franchise:
“I want to thank everybody in the Phillies organization for giving me the chance and for staying with me. I cannot explain to you what the last nine years, or 8 1/2 years, has meant to me. I’ve had some of the greatest times I’ve ever had in my life. Philadelphia has been the highlight of my career. I love everything about the fans, the city. I’ve talked Phillie baseball everywhere I go. I want everything to go out on a very positive attitude and note.
What else can I say? The only thing I can say I’m mad about is that they took the best seat in the house away from me.”
Players in Philadelphia will miss Manuel’s presence in the dugout, as Chace Utley puts it, “Charlie brought out the most in his players. He was a man you could walk up to and he was the same every day. He was always going to give that positive energy and a lot of times that translated to the field.”
A big change for a franchise struggling mightily in 2013, firing Charlie Manuel is an emotionally packed decision by the Phillies. Fans in the city of brotherly love are not known to take kindly to poor sporting decisions, Amaro better hope he made the right one or he certainly will hear about it in the future.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express