How do Manuel's detractors feel about the fact that he won't be fired after this season? How do Manuel's supporters justify allowing him to fulfill his contract next season?
Who are you?
A fan who has previously played baseball, at any level, understands the game to a certain extent. Most people have played this sport, so the pool of fans that we are looking at in this instance is understandably large.
People within any group have broad personality differences. The same has been, is, and seems logically likely to always be true among baseball fans.
But, how can we determine if someone is using logic, or emotion, to form their view of Manuel's job performance?
Facts and feelings about 'Cholly' Manuel
A blended mix of logic and emotion was intentionally used in this section header. The derisive term 'Cholly' clearly referencing the feelings of all who bemoan the ongoing presence of the Phillies' current dugout boss. Then, there are others who believe that they are able to see the clear facts about Manuel.
The former Cleveland Indians' hitting coach and manager was initially hired as a special adviser by former general manager Ed Wade. Many cite that decision as a 'mercy hire', which was purely executed to appease free agent Jim Thome a decade ago.
The beloved Larry Bowa departed after managing 160 games in 2004. Manuel was then interviewed, along with a group of known entities that included Jim Leyland and Jim Fregosi, after that season. With whatever the thought process was, Wade promoted Manuel to manager in November.
While I've never seen a mock Leyland Phillies' jersey at Citizens Bank Park, the current Detroit Tigers' skipper clearly was the fantasy selection of those who feel that they understand the game better than Wade, Pat Gillick, and Amaro.
We know that Manuel isn't the greatest in-game tactician and that he speaks with a distinction that isn't linked to a South Philadelphia lineage.
This 68-year-old man has the most regular season wins in franchise history. He was in charge in 2008, when the team defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Tampa Bay Rays in order to capture it's second-ever World Series championship. He also presided over the longest postseason appearance streak (2007-2011) and the best regular season record (102-60 in 2011) in franchise history.
Some refuse to relinquish the emotionally-based notion that Manuel has been the full beneficiary of good timing. There are others who are willing to say that this manager has done a good job (overall), should be allowed to fulfill the final year of his contract, and then should be willing to pass the torch to Ryne Sandberg.
If this formerly discarded prospect (who was handed to the Chicago Cubs in the infamous Bowa for Ivan De Jesus deal) truly wants to manage this specific major league team, he will continue to wait for his seemingly close opportunity to do so.
Unless the Phillies rebound into a 2013 World Series championship, it's reasonable to conclude that Manuel's contract won't be extended. Next season represents the final year of the Phillies' deal with their current manager.
Sandberg has proven his humility by initially accepting a low-level minor league managing opportunity with the Cubs in 2007. Will this Hall of Fame player be willing to extend his Triple-A stay for one more year, or agree to become a member of Manuel's coaching staff next season? Neither choice would guarantee him anything, but might not hurt his career options either.
The benefit of 'Ryno' remaining within the Philadelphia organization is that he would retain the first-hand experience he has gained with it's young personnel and with key front office players. Every worker who has sought to advance within a company, rather than jump ship, understand the benefits of strategically staying on board until someone else departs (or is let go).
Ruben Amaro's choice
Amaro might just be saying that Manuel will be back next season. Maybe, he will change his mind in the offseason. He could also be telling everyone exactly what he plans to do.
Those who stand on both sides of this managerial issue seem certain to dig more deeply into their own opinions. Meanwhile, balanced minds will consider the facts and wait for the matter to fully play out.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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