(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


Not much to tell.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Washington Nationals Should Hire Charlie Manuel

When the Phillies were looking to replace Larry Bowa, they opted for first baseman Jim Thome's former manager, Charlie Manuel, who knows how to manage talent and did a great job with the Cleveland Indians, even if his Tribe team lost to the Florida Marlins in the World Series.  Manuel proved to be a good manager for a good nucleus of budding stars, guiding them to the playoffs in 2007 and to the world championship in 2008.  Had Brad Lidge had half as awful a season as he did in 2009 (when the Phillies lost to the Yankees in the WS and when Lidge had the worst season of any closer in ML&B history), the team might well have beaten the Bronx Bombers in the 2009 Series.  The team ran into the Giants' red-hot pitching in 2010, but had Cliff Lee been able to do what he was paid mightily to do -- be a stopper -- (he blew a 4-0 lead after 1 inning in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Cardinals, giving the Cardinals the confidence and impetus to go on to win a WS) -- they might have won three titles in five years.  Okay, so that's a lot, but they could have won two.

Manuel did a good job with motivated, talented players, reminding me of a comment that Sparky Anderson made when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame (and his introducer remarked that he was a great manager).  Anderson looked up at the sky while giving his speech and wondered aloud:  "Great manager?  I was blessed to have a  front office that gave me great talent, and I was smart enough to stay the hell out of their way."  Put differently, the '08 Phillies didn't need to be stamped out of a mold; they needed steering.

Any team sound familiar?

The 2012 Nationals flexed their muscles and announced their arrival as a major force in the Majors.  This year, they have flat out underachieved, and the rumors have swirled that Davey Johnson might be out as their manager.  They don't need a Billy Martin/Larry Bowa drill sergeant type.  They need someone who can appeal to the potential greatness that the Nats' core of position players and starting pitchers have.  The team has much more talent than the Phillies, and Manuel has had winning seasons in all but two of his years as a Major League manager.

He also looks to be in good shape, looking big, strong and more relaxed than in a while during his "exit" press conference (at which no one mentioned that he was fired).  Clearly, he had some difficulty trying to manage the various moves that GM Ruben Amaro had made, and the team had struggled for most of the season.  A leader like Carlos Ruiz got busted for the first 25 games for Adderrall use, and then set-up man Antonio Bastardo loses 50 games for his deployment of success in a bottle, vial or tube courtesy of the folks at Biogenesis.   Over the years, he juggled injury-prone lineups mightily, doing some fine work in 2010 particularly when at one time he won pretty consistently playing the likes of Cody Ransom, Juan Cruz, Juan Valdez and Dane Sardinha.  Players loved him and still do; he's patient, he's wise, and he knows when to draw the line and enforce discipline.

Translated, he's just what the Nationals need -- a proven, patient winner.  Sure, he won't win awards for dazzling speeches, but it's not how it's said, it's what's said, and his players respond.  He was beloved in Philadelphia, more so than Larry Bowa, whom the fans liked a great deal as a player, and perhaps even more so than Dallas Green, who managed the team to its last World Series victory before 2008.

Yes, he's getting up there in years, but (and I've been quoting him a lot lately), as Bill Parcells once said, "you are what your record says you are."  Now, that might be a bit more generous to Manuel as a Phillie (who had very good talent) and totally unfair to Terry Francona during his tenure (where he had to manage glorified AAA talent, plus Scott Rolen and Curt Schilling).

Charlie wins.

Washington has tons of talent.

Seems like an opportunity.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Phillies fan, I am sad to see Charlie go. CLearly,it was unfair of the Phillies organization to fire Charlie. Due to his level of success as a Phillies mgr., he atl least deserved to finish out the season & many believe that he deserved to get another chance for next year especially, given all the injuries the Phillies team sustained. I believe Charlie would be a great manager for the nationals. In time, the Phillies will realize they made a huge mistake and that Charlie deserved better, Just as Jayson Worth stated. Ruben Amaro Jr. has a history of treating his employees horribly; as they did when they let Cliff Lee go the first time. RAJ didn't tell Cliff directly, Cliff Lee's wife found out Cliff had been let go when she first learned about it on the radio. If Charlie gets the opportunity to manage the Nationals next year, I will be cheering for him over the Phillies because he is a great man. His players love him and so does the city of Philadelphia.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on!! Charlie deserved better and I too will be cheering on Charlie. Most people believe that if anyone had to be fired that it should have been Rueben Amaro Junior. I too am a Phillies Fan & if the Nationals hire Charlie, I will spend my money on tickets to see the Nationals, not the Phillies. Phillies wnership should have stepped in and not allowed Charlie to be fired. I will not support the Phillies organization going forward. There is no loyalty to the people who deserve it the most.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Nationals fan, I would love to see Charlie Manual hired. The Nationals should move on this quickly before someone else does.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on Jayson Werth...Lets get Charlie hired..He is a gift in the waiting..Charlie we want you!!!!

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WE WANT CHARLIE..WE WANT CHARLIE....Come to the Nationals organization Charlie. We'll treat you with the DIGNITY & RESPECT you deserve..:):):):):)

2:18 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home