Philadelphia, PA – Charlie Manuel is the winningest manager in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies. Charlie Manuel led the team to five division titles, two pennants, and of course, the 2008 World Series.
Yet on Friday, with 42 games remaining on his contract, Manuel was relieved of his duties as the manager of the Phillies and replaced by Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg.
Manuel is 69 years old and has been around the game his whole life. He knows how this works. When things are going bad the manager is always the first one to go.
You can't fire the whole team right? And Manuel, classy to the end, stood in front of the media on Friday with the man who fired him and answered every question, even admitting that he would have wore his jersey had he been allowed to.
This just feels wrong.
Manuel deserved to finish out this season. He's earned it. It's not even arguable. He's been the most successful manager in team history since taking the reins in 2005, posting a record of 780-636 over his nine-year tenure.
There is a month and a half left in the season. Barring a Los Angeles Dodgers- type run here, what exactly is going to change in the last month and a half?
The Phillies are just 53-67 heading into Friday's game against those white-hot Dodgers and sit in fourth place of the National League East. They are headed for their first losing season since the 2002 team was 80-81.
Why couldn't Manuel have been allowed to ride this thing out?
General manager Ruben Amaro said he informed Manuel earlier this week that they would look to go in a different direction at the end of the year. And Manuel made it very clear at Friday's press conference he did not step down.
"I did not resign," said Manuel, who recently won his 1,000th game as a big league manager. "I did not quit."
Speaking of Amaro, he was very emotional at the presser. Perhaps it's because he knows it's now his neck on the line.
Amaro has taken what Pat Gillick built and transformed it into a bad version of the New York Yankees. He has an aging roster littered with bad contracts and a farm system that nobody seems to be that high on.
Not to mention, Amaro had a chance to deal off a few pieces at this year's trade deadline that won't be with the Phillies next year and opted to hang onto them.
Granted, it may have been tough to deal Cliff Lee and his enormous salary, but are you trying to tell me he couldn't have moved Michael Young or Carlos Ruiz?
Heck, why even keep Jimmy Rollins around? There would have been a market for him had he been shopped.
Amaro is going to try to rebuild the house without turning the lights off. It won't work. The only way to truly rebuild is to start from scratch.
He had a chance to blow it all up, start over, and failed.
Now he may be the next one up at that podium saying good bye.
Something tells me, though, that he won't be as classy as Manuel was accepting his fate.