Most fans speak about his future with a mix of emotional logic. Some extreme, cartoon-like views of Manuel are similar to sideshow acts at old school carnivals.
I like Manuel
Manuel is the greatest manager (more than 700 wins and a 2008 World Series championship) in team history. There's a statue of Connie Mack (long-time Philadelphia Athletics manager and part-owner) that sits across the street from Citizens Bank Park. I think that the Phillies should erect one of 'Chuck' right now.
I loved Larry Bowa, but he didn't know how to relate to the players. Manuel understands how to keep his team motivated regardless of whether times are good, or bad.
Sure, we've had a down year. But, that's not his fault. There were injuries, players are having down years, Cliff Lee is pitching like he's in an episode of the "Twilight Zone" and the Washington Nationals have been more lucky than good.
Manuel deserves to have his contract extended.
I don't like 'Cholly'
Manuel should have never been hired.
I loved Jim Thome, but he's the one who made the Phillies hire his old Cleveland Indians' friend when he signed his free agent contract in December 2002. Then, a few years later when Jim Leyland (currently with the Detroit Tigers) deserved to be hired, Ed Wade promoted his special assistant (Manuel) to the manager's job. It was all a charade, because I think it was the plan from the beginning to hire good old 'Cholly'.
Pat Gillick (Hall of Fame general manager) kept Manuel in place when he took over because anyone could have managed that great team. Basically, he didn't want to upset the cheese steak cart.
The Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays to win the World Series because of the players they had. The manager had nothing to do with it.
On the other hand, the players weren't the reason why the Phillies lost to the New York Yankees in the 2009 World Series, to the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 National League Championship Series and to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 Divisional Series.
This year proves that Manuel has lost the team and so it's time for him to go.
Balancing Phillies' logic and emotion
Manuel does have the most regular season wins in franchise history. He also led the team to the most consecutive playoff appearances (five, 2007-2011) in team history. It's fair to say that he deserves his share of the credit, or blame, for everything that has happened since he first became manager.
There are other managers who make better in-game decisions. That's important, because sharp strategy gives a team a better chance to win games.
There are other managers who speak more eloquently than Manuel does. That matters as well, because public perception is a part of the game. While a team is winning, a side issue like this one will be laughed off.
When a team begins to lose, appearances stir emotion. Emotion can build a consensus that helps to diminish support over time. The Phillies hopefully will never willingly allow their rebuilt fan base to become disenchanted.
Due to circumstances, we have seen players sacrificed this season. If losing persists, the next logical step would be a managerial change.
I would promote Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs manager Ryne Sandberg to a major league coaching position at the end of this season. If next season begins to look like a repeat of this one, he would be right there to take over.
'Ryno' has zero major league experience, which means that there's no way to know how he would perform. But, I don't want to allow him to leave this organization for a second time.
If the Phillies decide to make a bolder move than the suggested one, at any point before next season begins, I will also understand their use of logic in that regard.
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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