Few managers do surly and agitated better than Philadelphia Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel. And let's be honest, no sports media is better at pushing buttons than those in the City of Brotherly Love. It makes for an interesting pairing, and as we've seen and heard in the past, it can lead to combustible postgame press conferences and exchanges.
That's exactly what we saw again following Philadelphia's 4-3 loss to the New York Mets on Friday night.
Clearly, the source of the frustration lately has been the Phillies lack of offense, or perhaps more specifically their inability to deliver a clutch hit that changes the direction of a game. Just look at Friday's loss specifically and you can see where the problems lie. Sure, starting pitcher Cole Hamels bears some of the responsibility for allowing a three run lead in the second to slip away, but the bigger issue was Philadelphia's offense not adding on or responding as the game moved along.
The chances were definitely there. The big hit just never came. And afterwards the media came looking for answers that Manuel couldn't provide.
The most aggressive of those asking the questions was CBS Philadelphia's Howard Eskin, whom Manuel has a bit of history with. You can view the most intense portion of their exchange in the video above, but for those who might not be in a position to watch, here's the transcript courtesy of Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia:
But, reporter Howard Eskin asked, is the rest of the lineup going to be fine?
"Stop thinking about that -- 'Is the rest of the lineup gonna be fine?'" Manuel retorted. "Do I know if the rest of the lineup is gonna be fine? If I knew that, don't you think I'd do something about it?
"Does anybody else know that Howard? Do you know it? I don't think so. I know you don't as a matter of fact. Who does know it?"
"But the point is," Eskin interjected, "is there anything left to do if the rest of the lineup..."
And that seemed to put Manuel over the edge.
"I don't know what I can do," Manuel said, loudly and clearly, without a bit of hesitation. "If we don't hit and score runs, I don't know what we can do. I don't know what nobody else can do about it and I know you can't do a damn thing about it.
"So what else you wanna know? Anything else?"
And it almost ended there, but Eskin had one last question, and Manuel, walking away, had one final response.
"When you gonna score 10 runs?"
"When I knock you out," Manuel said. "That's when."
Classic parting shot by Uncle Charlie. One thing is for sure, you'll never get the last word on him.
And listen, I know the media has a job to do here and you honestly can't fault Eskin or the other for trying to squeeze an answer out of Manuel that would be worth printing in the paper or the blog, but sometimes there just aren't any good answers or explanations for why a team is struggling in one aspect or another. This is clearly one of those times for the Phillies offense, but perhaps better days lie ahead as Friday was only the sixth time their projected starting lineup played together.