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Big League Stew

Banner at Citizens Bank Park blames GM Ruben Amaro for Phillies downfall

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(Getty)

Charlie Manuel took the blame, and the fall, for the Philadelphia Phillies turning into a losing club. That doesn't mean Phillies fans buy his inadequacy as a manager as the sole explanation, or even the primary one, for Philly's 55-70 record coming into Wednesday.

No matter how much Manuel has become a beloved figure in Philadelphia, and no matter that most Phillies fans didn't seem to like how and when he was pushed out, there are many who don't disagree with his dismissal. But they also seem to recognize that regardless of Uncle Cholly's shortcomings, the person most responsible for the pickle is GM Ruben Amaro, who inherited a World Series winner from his predecessor, Pat Gillick.

That's emotionally and intellectually where the people who made the sign in the photo above are coming from. (And good for them, properly punctuating "It's.")

Still, the players have to move on with Amaro as GM and Ryne Sandberg as manager and that's OK with Roy Halladay. Or he says it is, via CSNPhilly.com. Halladay begins with "Obviously, I loved him," referring to Manuel, but adds that the Phillies have issues that need addressing by the manager:

Halladay was asked what issues were being overlooked.

“Just different things,” he said. “Guys being in places on time. Being on the field on time. Taking ground balls, taking extra BP, and all those little things that nobody thinks makes a difference."

Here's a fuller context of Halladay's opinions:

Sorry for the autoplay!

Halladay thinks Ryne Sandberg is a good man for the job of fixing these issues. And he might be. A key question also might be: Were the Phillies also overlooking these "little things" when they were winning the World Series in 2008, or winning 102 games in 2011 despite giving lesser players like Wilson Valdez 300 plate appearances? Is "overlooking the little things" really why they're not winning anymore?

It's possible that both sides of the issue are right in a sense; The Phillies can no longer overlook the "little things" because they're no longer talented enough to do so, so they might as well hire a manager who'll get them into shape. Of course, there's not much chance of the Phillies winning another World Series with mediocre, aging and infirm players, many of which populate their roster. So who cares that much if they all play the game "the right way"?

Then again, if Amaro does a better job stockpiling the talent, a combination of that and Sandberg running the team might get them back to the Series. Until Amaro does his bit, any fresh banners at CBP are going to be of the angry, homemade variety.

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