Sunday, April 22, 2007

Here and There...

- Charlie Manual's decision to move Brett Myers to the bullpen is either one of two things: A desperate move by a manager desperate to keep his job or an ordered demotion from Pat Gillick to showcase Jon Lieber for potential trade partners. I think it is more the latter than the former. Do you think Gillick would allow Manual to pull a stunt like this if it didn't have his blessing? They just gave Myers a huge 3 year contract extension, so I doubt very seriously if anyone in the Phillies really thinks Myers is the Phillies long term answer in the bullpen. I think Gillick has Charlie Manual on a short leash and the fact is, Lieber is a tradeable asset in need of a market. If Lieber pitches well (which he did against the Reds on Friday), then perhaps he will be moved for the bullpen assets we need sooner rather than later.

- Speaking of Uncle Charlie, the NY Times did an article on the trials and tribulations of the skipper (thanks to for bringing to their readers' attention). It provides a credible description of why Uncle Charlie has so many problems here in Philly. The writer, Jere Longman, is a former Inquirer writer and currently lives in Philly, so the writer is not speaking with a detached viewpoint.

I do have a couple of issues with the article. The first issue I have with the article is that the writer plays the "poor old country boy getting picked on in the big city" angle just a little bit too much for my taste at the if, we only pick on Charlie Manual because of his country accent.

Actually, we pick on Charlie Manual because he's not a credible major league manager.

The writer additionally underplays the fact the fact that Manual was hired instead of Jim Leyland, who took a brutal Tigers team to the World Series last year. It is disconcerting that Charlie Manual was chosen over the more accomplished and seasoned Jim Leyland. After his hiring, Charlie Manual, especially on talk radio, was viewed as they guy that was hired because he would be a good company man as opposed to the more outspoken and blunt Jim Leyland. The Phillies fan base has been so alienated over the years, with how cheap and short-sighted the organization is, that a man like Leyland would have not only provided competent management from the bench, but would tell the front office what they needed to hear instead of what they wanted to hear. To many Phillies fans, Manual's hiring represents just another in a long line of hirings and signings by the Phillies that showed that they are not interested in winning...only in not rocking their boat, both financially and organizationally speaking.

- It was sad yesterday to hear of the passing of author David Halberstam in a car accident in Menlo Park, California. I have a relationship with his writing going all the way back to freshman year in college when I read "Summer of '49" about the Red Sox and Yankee rivalry that year. I've also read "Breaks of the Game" about the time he spent with the 1978 Portland Trailblazers and I recently finished "Education of a Coach" about the rise of Bill Belichick to "genius coach". His writing kept you interested in the topic and you left the book with the idea that you were actually there or that you initimately knew the person or persons about whom he was writing. I don't know that there is a credible individual out there that writes that way. I highly recommend you pick up any of the books I describe above written by Halberstam. I've also heard good things about the Michael Jordan book he wrote in 1999 ("Michael Jordan and the World he made") that I look forward to reading.

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