The real reason why Philadelphia Phillies' manager Charlie Manuel makes some people so angry doesn't appear to be connected to how he performs his job.
There has always been and will likely always be a certain segment of the fan base that just can't stand the man who has the most managerial wins in franchise history. This behavioral rut has only deepened through the years because those who have never stopped digging seem incapable of admitting that they were wrong.
A portion of the fan base
Baseball fans, like those in any other sport, break into categories based upon their personality types.
Many Phillies' loyalists are well-balanced, have continued to support their team and are willing to admit that they don't know everything about baseball. Those of us who have played, coached or worked in the game always keep in mind that our experiences are different than actually being in the major leagues.
Some people who believe that they "know the game" simply can't stand "Cholly". That cutting nickname is often repeated by those who never wanted him hired and can't wait until he's gone for good. These individuals actually believe that they know more about baseball than Ed Wade, who hired Manuel after the Cleveland Indians let him go. And yes, everyone understands that Manuel's connection with Jim Thome likely helped him to be initially hired as an adviser to that former general manager.
Wade is an easy target, because he never led the Phillies to the playoffs and then moved on to a Houston Astros organization that flopped. But, how about Pat Gillick? His decision to retain Manuel and to have never fired him offers no counter to every eternal contrarian. That's why we will never hear that Hall of Famer's choice properly questioned.
Missed World Series' opportunities?
Those who have complained the loudest about Manuel's lack of strategic dexterity need to step back from the ledge and look up at reality.
Does anyone who has followed baseball for any length of time actually believe that the New York Yankees (2009), the San Francisco Giants (2010) or the Cardinals (2011) didn't deserve to become World Series' champions? Do they really believe that Manuel's presence prevented the Phillies from claiming those three crowns?
Those questions might have already been proven true in various online baseball fantasy worlds. But in the real one, they never have been and never will be.
The Phillies have won the exact number of championships (1) that they deserved to during Manuel's tenure to-date. That fact also doesn't support the logically flawed points that every detractor attempts to make in vain.
Look and listen
I was willing to give Manuel a chance when he was initially hired as manager, agree with some of the critiques about his game and think that it's okay for him to be allowed to complete his contract next season.
I believe that Gillick has obviously been the best general manager during Manuel's reign. He took the solid pieces that Wade left in the fall of 2005 and developed the perfect scenario for Manuel to preside over against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008.
I also like new third base and infield coach Ryne Sandberg's potential. My hope is that he will remain with the organization until the Phillies offer him their managerial job. Amaro seems to be creating a smooth transition strategy in this regard.
What I learned by playing, coaching and working in baseball is that the people who are actually in the game know more overall than the fans do. Of course, there will be some who believe that last statement is just an opinion.
I also know that the fans (of every type) must always be heard, because without them (us) there is no game. Those who are seasoned supporters of this sport understand, without being told, where their place is within every stadium.
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 in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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- Charlie Manuel