Letters | An ineffective Manuel is no manager of year

Posted: September 02, 2007

It must be busy around the Kool-Aid pitcher in the press box, what with Bob Ford (Aug. 26, Believe it: Manuel is manager of the year) joining his colleagues among the Phillies' management apologists.

It was good to learn that I'm a "howling" - as opposed to laughing? - "hyena." But it's this team and especially its management that are laughable. And as always, the joke's on us, the fans, hysterical ingrates though we are.

Sure, Charlie Manuel's contract should be renewed and extended next year for more of this achievement. His teams have won what? Exactly nothing - exactly what his oft-maligned predecessors have won and about the same number of games each year, too.

Ah, but he's "kept the team together." Great stuff. It's suitable for next year's slogan. Instead of slapping "Now is the time" or "Corrales a pennant" on my bumper, I can put "Let's keep it together, guys."

(By the way, where is all this "heart" from the pitching staff, as its guys got hit with pitches all year? Where was the protection when Chase Utley went down? Why is Milton Bradley totally healthy? The Padres showed how it's done with Carlos Ruiz.)

I do agree with Bob (whining baby though I am) that the one and only defense of Manuel is the even worse job done by Pat Gillick, whose personnel failures (especially in the bullpen) have left Charlie fighting with one hand tied behind his back. But if that's all you've got, you need to fight with the other hand, not use it to scratch your head in puzzlement.

No, it's not Charlie's country bumpkin style I condemn. It's the substance of his performance. I've lost track of the times he's removed a reasonably effective starter with a reasonably low pitch count to go to a bullpen that's often inflammatory and at the absolute best inconsistent.

Overcoming significant injuries to key players? OK, great, give him all the credit. But is he an effective manager of a winning team maximizing its opportunities? No way. And there is no way the on-field work and results of this manager can't be improved.

At least Bob will have the opportunity of covering the playoffs. It's an opportunity Phillies fans won't be enjoying.

Andrew Ross


Woeful Phillies

Ah, those ever woeful Phillies. Another season with premature promise destined to end again in futility! Perhaps it's time for what passes as management to encourage players such as Flash Gordon, Jose Mesa and Jamie Moyer to retire to one of the many local senior men's softball leagues that best encourage their slow-pitch, high-arc, easy-to-hit style.

Beyond the obvious current faults of this team, a deeper issue exists that won't be resolved for at least another 30 years. It is the existence of a minor-league-designed complex called Citizens Bank Park. Recently, San Diego Padres outfielder Milton Bradley said it best: "I broke a bat and thought it was an easy out to left [actually, a home run]. This park is a joke."

Right, Milton, it is a $346 million joke that will never attract frontline free-agent pitchers - which this team sorely lacks - unless they no longer care about winning.

Oddly, this park does have its admirers in the cell-phone-gabbing, concessions-devouring, beer-drinking "fans" with marginal knowledge of the game who show only a minimal interest in the actual field of play.

Gene Muccolini


Doesn't like Sarge

I have been enjoying the Phillies' 2007 quest for a playoff spot. However, there is one irritating point: Gary Matthews rambling on and on and the use of the word down in practically every sentence he speaks.

It's gotten to the point that I turn on the game with the volume off and listen to the radio broadcast. He has to be the worst broadcaster I've ever listened to.

Anthony Merendino


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