Finally, he told the tale about psyching out the other team's pitcher by telling him how hot it was. The guy immediately stopped throwing and sat down.
"We got him out of the game before it even started," he bragged to his team.
All that came after Manuel was asked about the four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers that begins tonight at Miller Park.
Whenever the Phillies have faced a team this year that they might possibly see again in the postseason, be it the Red Sox or Giants or Diamondbacks or Braves, the Phillies' official position has been that these games are no different from any other and that, anyway, the results will have no impact on a potential rematch in October.
This time, though, Manuel departed from the party line a little bit.
One reason is that there are only 3 weeks left in the regular season. Manuel noted that, in 2008, the Phillies not only swept the Brewers in a four-game, mid-May series but got manager Ned Yost fired in the process.
"Then we faced them in the playoffs a few weeks later and if you remember how that series played out, I think it had some kind of effect on them," he said.
Another reason is that the Phillies haven't played Milwaukee since losing two out of three in April, with the Brewers scoring 18 runs in the process.
"Since then, they've remodeled their bullpen [with the addition of Francisco Rodriguez]. I think this is going to tell us how much they've improved and how good they are and what we can expect. That's what I think we're going to gain out of this series," Manuel said.
Beyond gaining a psychological edge, there's a practical reason why this series matters to the Phillies. They have the best record in baseball but the Brewers, who have played five more games, are only six wins behind.
Since no team has been better at home than the Brewers (50-19) this year, that's a big deal. It's an even bigger deal since the second-best homefield advantage (49-22) belongs to the Phillies.
So, where do you suppose the Phillies would want to play Game 7 of the NLCS if they end up matched against Milwaukee?
The New York Post reported yesterday that Phillies outfielder John Mayberry has asked his agents at CAA to help him get a date with actress Antoinette Nikprelaj, who plays a mermaid in "Pirates of the Caribbean."
Not surprisingly, his teammates had some good-natured fun with the story. Printouts of the story were placed on the chair in front of every player's locker yesterday afternoon and several teased him about the incident in the clubhouse before the game.
The Phillies announced yesterday that shortstop Freddy Galvis and righthander Trevor May have been named the Paul Owens Award winners as the best player and pitcher in their minor league system.
The 21-year-old Galvis hit .278 with 78 runs scored, 28 doubles and 23 stolen bases between Double A Reading and Triple A Lehigh Valley. He finished strong for the IronPigs, batting .321 in his first 29 games after being promoted on Aug. 2. That takes on added significance since Jimmy Rollins can be a free agent at the end of the season.
May, who turns 22 in 2 weeks, struck out 208 batters in 151 1/3 innings at Class A Clearwater, third highest total in all of minor league baseball, and held opposing hitters to a .221 average.