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Sunday, May 14, 2006


as much as it would cause heads to spin in the phlogosphere, if he manages to keep this up and win the division he should, deservedly, get serious consideration.

of course, that is a very big "if," and there's a lot of baseball left to play...

Do you watch the same games I do. Franklin sucks....he sould be in Scranton, he blows more opportunities, than he helps out with. Moving Madsen to the pen is the smart move....but right now he can't find the plate either. Watch the games before you me I work for a news station, and I know how it works...

I think this will end up the same way it did in Cleve. He has a very talented team, that makes it to the precipice and they wont make it because he will hurt them. He is miscast as a manager. As a luvable goofy hitting coach? Thats perfect for him. It's the "peter principle." I do agree with u that most people don't like him though because of a patriarchal type thinking that is typical to Philadelphia. It's funny, I thought the Democratic people were supposed to be inclusive? (sorry couldnt resist)

I know Weitzel watches the games. I know I watch the games. do you watch the games, chris? nobody's saying Franklin is the second coming of Eck, but he's been remarkably consistent. he's only really self-destructed in two games, and one of them was due to his being used in three straight. right now, he's performing just about as well as Madson or Urbina did last year. you can't ask for much more than that.

"trust me I work for a news station, and I know how it works"

Umm, this is a joke, right? Would this be a TV news station, home of two hour weather reports, sensationalist BS, celbrity worship and scaremongering for old people.
No thanks, I take Weitzel's opinion.

Oh, and I was too busy laughing to offer my take on Manuel. I obviously can't stand his strategic decisions but I am willing to make an allowance for things like intagibles when it comes to managers.

I think you are right to look at the performance of young players under Manuel's watch (though all those guys tore up the minor leagues too). By definition, we can't measire what Manuel brings to the team through intagibles, but if it is more than the 2-3 games per year he costs with bonehead decisions, I'm willing to live with it (though I certainly won't stop criticizing his decisions).

As I think RSB mentioned, Bobby Cox has also been known to pull some real head scratchers, but gets results. I'd rather have someone like LaRussa, Showalter or Francona (yes, I'm serious) but you obviously can't fire the manager when the team is on such a great run.

Just wish he could folksy up some April wins each season so we wouldn't need 12-1 streaks just to get back in it.

I'm not backing down from my comments: Manuel is not a good manager. He makes poor decision nearly every game. And I think everyone would agree this is true. Now for the "intangible" he brings to the team of being a "players' manager", well ok, I'll take the players' word for it because I'm obviously not in the clubhouse. Truth of the matter is, there really isn't all that many good managers out there. Winning makes you look good regardless if you're really high quality or not. As long as the Phils continue to win, then who cares if *Jo Momma was the coach.

*Happy Mother's Day!

I just had to say that Jason is one of the best Phillies bloggers out there because not only does he watch the games, he goes the extra mile, interviews players and coaches, and has consistently brought great analysis and a fan's attitude to the web for a number of years. So, whoever you are, Chris Fischer, remember that this is a blog and you can read something called "the archives" and notice all the people who comment here before making such a bone-headed comment. You can question the manager, players, GMs past and present, and even Larry Bowa, but NEVER ask Weitzel if he's watched the games...

It amazes me that people can still criticize Manuel.

He's got pretty much every one of his key guys playing excellent ball, he obviously cares for and protects his players... and as the incident in Miami two weeks ago showed, he's not unwilling to call them out when circumstances warrant.

Take Geary, for example. He was sent down Thursday night after the finale of the Mets series; in every story the next day, Manuel said that telling Geary of his demotion was one of the hardest things he's ever had to do as a manager. The next night, the guy who might have gone in Geary's stead, Julio Santana, was absolutely brutal and turned a blowout into a save situation.

The day after that, Santana went on the DL and Geary came back. My knock on Geary has always been that he seems to pitch better when the team is way ahead or way behind than in tight spots... but Manuel threw him out there in extra innings this afternoon against a very potent Reds team. Geary responded with shutout ball--his overall scoreless streak is now up around 13 innings--and the team won the game.

Geary deserves more credit for this than does Cholly... but does anyone really think that Larry Bowa would have either been so supportive of the pitcher, or so confident as to send him in for that kind of high-leverage situation, three days after a demotion?

I still b*tch about his pinch-hitting moves, and I'm sure he'll blow a game or two with a dumb decision somewhere along the line. But it increasingly looks like Manuel is the perfect manager for this team. Bobby Cox and Joe Torre aren't the greatest in-game strategists either, and they've done okay.

The best thing a manager can do is not make his players worse. How the players perform is almost entirely up to them...but a head case like Bowa can infect his players with his over-tense attitude. Since Cholly creates an atmsophere where young players can thrive, he's done his job. I know this amounts to merely being better than a rotten manager like Bo, but I'll take it.

Very few managers' strategic decisions amount to more tahn simply over-cautious managing, trying "not to lose", so they all can be justly criticized. La Russa's supposed to be a genius, and maybe he is, but he relies far too much on one-run strategies, especially considering the lineups he has. Cholly's a lot better at letting his guys wait for a good pitch to crush...and these guys can rip the ball. This is a talented, exciting team that doesn't need a lot of mananging...which is good 'cause Cholly ain't too smnart. But he's smart enough to know what not to do.

I'll be the first to admit that Charlie has the team playing good ball and keeping a good happy clubhouse. This is all good.

My main gripe is his lack of gamesmanship. The team will get so far and I'm afraid that he will get out maneuvered when all the chips are on the line by somebody more tactically oriented like say, Tony LaRussa.

I will give him credit at this time for pressing the players correct buttons and having them playing good loose ball.

I think the good pitching lately helps, too.

I don't mean to step on toes here, but I will. Losing makes a manager look horrible and winning make him look great. I think this team is different from the one than in April. Anyone who watches the games can see the difference in their body language, which I equate to "heart" or "passion" or whatever "intangible" you want to call it. However, Charlie Manuel sucks at strategy and that is my major gripe. Just because the Phillies are playing amazing baseball in May, will not deter me from saying that Manuel is a poor manager. I have the balls to stick true to my statements I've made in the past.

Maybe I'm wrong, and that's fine, but this is my opinion on Manuel as a be it.

I suspect the strategic genius part of managing is overated by some, especially in the blogosphere where the people who write and comment tend to take an analytical approach to the game, appreciating the chess master aspects of managing while gleefully pointing out the gaffs.

But when you think about it, "genius" managers aren't necessarily the most successful. Gene Mauch was probably the smartest manager the Phillies ever had and that got them exactly zero pennants -- and not for lack of talent. On the other hand, one of his contemporaries, Casey Stengel, could unleash a garble of apparently English words that would make our Uncle Charlie sound like Shakespeare. Yet he won a few World Series in his time.

Somebody mentioned Tony LaRussa. I'm a big fan, but if you want some interesting reading, check out the Cardinals blogs where the followers pick TLR apart for being... uh... overly mental. I guess some fans are never happy, even when the team is winning.

One more thing, just to get it said. As a kid from the sticks myself, some of the stuff I hear said about Manuel just sounds like the kind of crap we're accustomed to hearing from ignorant city fellers who haven't been around enough to know better.

Nat, I'm glad you brought up Gene Mauch, the anti-Charlie Manuel. Perhaps no one in the history of the game was a better strategist than Mauch, who in turn never made it to a World Series. Larry Bowa was never going to lose a match of 'gamesmanship' either, but I'll agree with John that Bowa at the very least balanced out his in-game advantages by making his players less effective that they would have been if they had been able to play relaxed. Bowa did not have a good influence on the Phillies, and part of me feels like they're still recovering from the full-scale tension he (along with Ed Wade) implemented over time.

Charlie Manuel is a guy who might occasionally hurt you with his strategy, but overall his influence is more greatly felt when one considers that the team has showed signs of finally playing up to its capabilities - something that uncoincidentally did not and never was going to happen under Bowa/Wade. If they win, I won't be falling over myself to credit him, but if they lose, I seriously doubt it will be because of him. I think people need to get over the fact that he's not Jim Leyland, for once and for all. When I hear people criticize him, it's clear there is an ongoing bias at work, one which won't ever forget that he wasn't the right hire in their eyes. I don't think he is the reason when they struggle, and I don't think he has all that much to do with their success. To me, he's nothing to get excited about either way. But he's nowhere near as bad as most Philly fans claim.

speaking of getting a team to play up to capabilities, managers get far too much credit AND blame for this. and often our memories are short. at the beginning of the year, manuel can't get the guys to play but not all of the sudden he gets credit for their play. larry bowa apparently could never get his team to play "up to its capabilities" yet he did take a 65 win team and turn them into an 86 win club with practically the same roster (except losing schilling and gaining travis lee) and a pitching staff led by robert person and omar daal. was travis lee worth an extra 21 wins?

the "ongoing bias at work" in reference to manuel is due to the fact that he is not a good strategic manager, and not any other reason. fact is, he has consistently, from game one of his tenure, made very short-sighted and frankly idiotic managerial decisions that have cost the phillies baseball games. and when you miss the playoffs by a single game, these tend not to be forgotten. he can be praised endlessly for his intangibles, but if this team would make the playoffs, i would want someone who could win a game from the dugout, not just lose it.

I will agree with you that they did seem to respond to the new approach in Bowa's first season. You conveniently ignore the subsequent three seasons of Bowa's tenure, however, in which the team decidely underachieved. That will be his legacy as manager of the Phils, not 2001.

I don't know and neither does anyone else just what impact Manuel's in-game chew-out session had, but the fact is the team took off from that exact point. Is he responsible for 13 out of 14? No, but just perhaps he contributed a spark.

I think people are quick to call Manuel's moves "idiotic" because they are convinced that he is an idiot, and they look for any possible opportunity to second-guess and make their point, again and again. I doubt very seriously whether he is similarly regardrd by his peers around baseball.

no, i did not conveniently ignore the phils "underachieving" after 2001 (i use quotations because that is a debatable point for another day) because that was exactly my point. the things that charlie manuel is getting credit for (namely getting the most out of his players) is probably the reason bowa was fired, but it is also the reason bowa was hired. point being, these types of "intangibles" come and go, based on the convenience of the critic. what does not change is the impact a manager has with his in-game skill and dicision making. this is where charlie manuel is lacking. so regardless of how the team is playing, i won't change my opinion on how good of a manger he is, because as i pointed out with bowa, "winners" become "losers" quickly, then leave as "scapegoats."

as for the creation of manuel's critics, people are convinced he is an idiot because he makes idiotic moves, not because there it was a preconceived opinion (although if it was, he backs it up nicely.) this is the guy who admitted publicly after a game that he could not utilize the double-switch effectively because he often forgot the pitcher batted! i can't imagine that garnered much respect among his peers. and given the numerous articles on his ineptitude (quich google search found such articles on espn, cnnsi, sporting news, hardball times, etc) it looks like this idea is far original or poorly received.

Manuel is neither an excellent or terrible manager. However, his laid-back, relaxed managerial style suits this current roster well. Larry Bowa had worn out his welcome with this team.

In general, a manager in baseball matters less than a head coach in football. Losing one game in baseball is not that big of a deal due to the 162-game schedule. Lose one or two close games in a football season and you might be home in January. Generally, you give a manager good players in baseball and he will look like a genius.

Joe Torre is the perfect example. Joe Torre never achieved much when he managed the Mets in the late 70s or the Cards in the early 90s. His calm attitude and unflapable demeanor were well suited to replace Buck Showalter in 1995 as manager of the Yanks. Steinbrenner gave him a talented team and Torre won 4 World Series. If anything, Torre has underachieved the last few seasons give the talent and payrolls that the Yanks have had.

How much emphasis do you really think there is on in-game strategy in determining the overall effectiveness of a baseball manager? I've got news for you: there isn't much. At all. The decisions are fairly basic, particularly to those who have been in the game and made it their life's work. If you want to claim that you, who most certainly are in a different profession and at best watch a certain percentage of games per season in the stands or on television, are better equipped to evaluate baseball strategy than someone who has played, coached, and managed for forty-plus years - then I'll have to say it's an invalid claim. Not every move Manuel makes is going to be the right one. But neither is he "inept" enough to be held directly responsible for the outcome of a game. If he was, he wouldn't have moved up through the minors and then gotten a second chance with a different organization on top of it. He has had success at what he does. And if you have proof of anyone in baseball - crotchety journalists aside - who has denounced Manuel's abilities in the course of all those years, I'd love to see it. There *was* most definitely a preconceived notion that Manuel was an incompetent hick because of his personality and accent. I'll admit I haven't been the greatest fan of his all along, and I wasn't initially happy with his selection. But I'm not so stubborn and blind to see that he isn't doing any harm to this team, and I know good and well that this team is moreover *improved* with him at the helm over Larry Bowa.

The reason in-game strategy isn't all that important is that most managers aren't very good at it. Thus nobody can get a competitive advantage.

The decisions seem basic because there are only a few choices-say, bunt/steal/hit & run/do nothing. But fifty factors could go into that decision. Can the runner get a good jump? Will they throw a breaking ball here? Will they pitch out? Do I want to keep the hole open first and second? Etc. etc. That's the fun of baseball to me-it's simple and complex at the same time.

Right - and I don't mean to suggest there isn't a certain complexity involved in strategy and the 'inside game', but don't forget Varsho and Dubee almost certainly have plenty of say where these things are concerned. Without their help, Manuel admittedly isn't even as shrewd where these things are concerned as someone like Joe Torre, but I'll reiterate that he's still better for this team than a guy like Bowa, who knew the game inside out but didn't know how to handle people. That's Manuel's strength, and on a baseball team, it counts for more over the long haul than studying computer printouts for ten hours before the game.

I very much hope the Phillies don't go on a stretch of bad baseball like they did in April, but if they do, I can't wait to see all the people calling for Manuel's head again. I'm not saying Manuel should be fired right now, that would be crazy, but I'm sticking with my statement that he's simply not a good manager. Fine for hitting coach, bad for manager. Let's see how many people keep flip-floppin' their comments about Manuel all season...

Oh, and by the way, I have nothing against Manuel being a "hick". Both Corey and I grew up in the country, that geography has nothing to do with how smart someone is.

I believe that the thing that turned this team around was the lineup change, something that Foghorn has control of. He also controlled that initial lineup that lost all those games. I'll give Uncle Charlie credit for changing the line up and thereby causing the Phillies scoring machine to get in gear. The players deserve a lot of the credit, too! The pitching has been suprisingly good during this stretch. I'm enjoying it.

A good team can win despite a bad manager -- witness Terry Francona and the 2004 Boston Red Sox, Art Howe with the Athletics and so forth.
Talent rules. I cannot be convinced that Manuel is a good manager. He makes too many mistakes and I think this cost the Phils a playoff spot last year.

thanks for the "news" that in-game decision making doesn't affect the overall effectiveness of a manger. since that is usually measured by wins and loses, that would mean that decision making has little effect on whether the team wins. i don't know how anyone could agree with that. but we'll just have to agree to disagree on the importance of managerial decision making.

i have a feeling though that if manuel was a better decision maker, you might give it some more credit.

from philadelphia weekly: "a bench coach for a National League club was talking to Philadelphia reporters before a game...'You just tell Gary to keep on helpin' Charlie with his decisions over there,' taking a shot at both Varsho and Manuel." there's one.

i disagree to the point it is invalid to claim anything in reference to baseball strategy because one hasn't "played, coached, and managed for forty-plus years." experience does not trump accuracy. and i'm not saying i'm correct, but one does have the right to question and the opportunity to be correct in regards to anything, regardless of experience or training. --this isn't russia, is it danny?-- if not, 90% of the statements on this site would be automatically wrong and pointless. also, don't try to invalidate an opposing opinion with a reason (lack of baseball knowlege/experience) that also would then invalidate your own. it's poor form, almost as poor as insults.

And by us complaining about Charlie Manuel's managing in the midst of the Phillies winning 13 out of 14 does not mean we're always searching for negatives. I'm super happy the PHillies are winning like this, and I'm very optimistic. Hell, I'm not even against Manuel, I just feel this "credit he deserves" in unwarranted and I was merely expressing my opinion, but I guess opinions are like assholes...everyone's got one.

Phuladelphia Weekly, that's an exemplary source. I'm convinced.

My point is this: Manuel's value to this team has to be judged by the overall results of the team. Talent rules, yes, but is that talent comfortable, is it producing optimally, is it together, is there respect for the manager and one another; or is there backbiting, complaining about roles, lack of communication, and general discontent?

Judging by stategic ability, alone, no, Manuel isn't all that terrific. And I did *not* say that this does not factor somewhat into his overall effectiveness as a manager. But people who are in the position of making accurate and informed decisions - namely Pat Gillick - can look past that if the team is playing to its capability. That's what's happening right now, and yes, I think Manuel deserves a little credit for it. Not all of it, but some.

Do we all have the right to question, and second-guess even though we haven't made a career out of baseball? Of course, and I do it almost every day myself. You couldn't be a fan if you didn't have opinions of your own. But let's face reality: the people who have front-office and managerial jobs aren't selected at random. It's kind of like with umpires who once in awhile may miss a call, but they are to be given the benefit of the doubt because not only have they had intensive training and it is their job to know what they are doing, but they're also right there on the field, inches from the source of their decisions. We can all have our fun second-guessing them to death, but let's not pretend that we are really more qualified to pass judgement on what goes into their thought processes. It doesn't invalildate our right to question, and it doesn't invalidate your (or anyone else's) opinion. I'm just saying, how seriously do you really take that opinion and do you really feel you know better than professionals whose business it is to know?

nice, try to discredit the source. you asked and i delivered. i think the kids call that "getting served." also, beerleaguer's own j. weitzel was quoted in the same piece, so be careful where you aim your sarcasm.

the points about atmosphere (complaining, respect) are good. this team had all those problems last year with this manager. what has changed is the players (minus lofton, wagner,pratt; plus rowand), so i would tend to attribute the change in atmosphere to that.

but i think we finally agree to a point: "Judging by stategic ability, alone, no, Manuel isn't all that terrific." exactly.

we can argue endlessly about how a manager handles his club behind closed doors and how that leads to winning or losing, without ever really knowing the answer. those opinions can never be proven right or wrong, therefore is a naturally great debate. decisions and there effects that happen during games however can be looked at without bias or opinion, as concrete evidence of job done well or not. and this is where, as you said, charlie isn't all that terrific at. the question then becomes, how do those two balance out. a month ago, we all would have said the balance would not have been in his favor. now, it seems to have flipped 180, as have many opinions.

as far as judging his thought process. i don't think i an anyone else short of charlie's psychotherapist could or would do that. and concerning "knowing better than professionals whose business it is to know," i don't really know what you're getting at. i never called for manuel to be fired. never said he should never have been hired. never said that i could do a better job. etc. etc. sure, i would prefer a better strategist, but that is far from aligning my opinions with baseball professionals. as i said a paragraph before, i'm merely looking at decisions and their results, which doesn't take a baseball professionl to interpret.

i blame manuel today for the same stuff i blamed him for one month ago, and in that line i credit him the same too. i'm not going to jump on the charlie maneul bandwagon and flip-flop my opinion like so many others here have.

and to answer your last question briefly: i take my opinions as seriously as i take the opinions of others on here, with a bit of levity and enough respect to avoid insults when debating opposing views.

All I did was mention Larry Bowa once (back on Sunday?) and it brought out the anger in this board! You bunch of bleepety-bleeps! LOL!

I wouldn't say I've "flip-flopped" my opinion of Manuel so much as the results have been flip-flopped - dramatically enough to give legitimate cause to re-examine my previously held opinion of Manuel's leadership. If you want to call that bandwagonism, go ahead. I call it being flexible enough to be able to question my own beliefs when the evidence suggests that perhaps they aren't entirely accurate.

The points in Manuel's favor also existed toward the end of last season, so this isn't entirely a revelation. I had believed that attitude and momentum from the stretch run would carry over to the beginning of last year, and when it didn't, I began to wonder if it had been an illusion. The past two weeks have proved to me that it wasn't.

My scoffing at the Philly Weekly source aside, I have done nothing to insult your opinion.

Can't we just all get along?

Here's how I see. Some of us are unwilling to give Manuel credit, and that is the bottom line. Others are starting to warm to Manuel and see he is making a difference. My opinion is, he's a poor baseball strategist and therefore a poor leader of a club. Bench coach, hitting coach, roving instructor...all fine positions for Manuel, because he really does seem like a great guy, I just don't want him leading my club. I'm not going to all of a sudden back down from my statments because of the recent winning, Manuel is the same manager in April that he is now in May...that's my point!

Oh, RSB, you are a flip-flopper when it comes to not sticking to your comments. You change like the direction of the wind. You go with the path of least resistance and change your opinion when it bests suits you. Only change your opinion if you truly believe it needs to be changed, don't merely change it each time the Phillies are up or down.

Easy. Everyone is cool here.

RSB, points well taken, i see your position. you are right, he does deserve some credit for the recent winning trend.

to me though, a zebra doesn't change his stripes, and a manager cannot be bad to start a year then good when they win at the end of then year, then bad again when they lose for the first month of the next year, then good again when they go on a winning streak.

it is frustrating when all that is said about the manager is negative, then after a nine game winning streak almost every post is positve, and the things he was getting ripped for, he's now getting praised for. and if the phils dropped 9 of the next 10, it would go right back to the opinions of april. and i just think that is wrong.

if the phils win 96 games this year, then i will reexamine my position, but there is not nearly enough power in a study with an n=13 to draw any valid conclustions.

here's to winning at least 2 in beertown and taking over 1st place.

We've all stated our OPINIONS now, so let's move on and keep rooting for the Phillies! I guess we all just have to agree to disagree in the case of Charlie Manuel.

wow...I think Corey & I have offened Manuel's wife, or at least someone claiming to be his wife. She let us have it pretty good on our blog. Didn't try to upset anyone, just expressing opinions. This has all gone too far, and I think people's points are being lost in the craziness.

carson, you are an idiot.

No personal attacks. Last warning. This thread is closed.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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