Last night's unfortunate tirade was inappropriate no matter who was stirring the drink, but it shouldn't be the only vehicle for change. The worst start in 20 years, the same tired excuses and an overmatched, overtaxed manager may be reason enough.
Manuel’s 3-9 Phillies are unprepared yet again, and as yesterday’s incident proves, Manuel isn’t long for managing in a salty market like Philadelphia. If last night’s scrap wasn’t an impetus for change, Manuel’s comments from over the weekend are, when he said he didn't have the answers. If he did, he'd do something.
Perfect. Yesterday’s incident only brought Manuel’s frustration to a public boil. Manuel doesn’t know what to do, and on a team with this much talent, it’s an intolerable waste. They shouldn't be 3-9. They shouldn't be getting blown out 8-1 at home in 40 degree weather. They shouldn't squander opportunities again and again. Manuel has basically pushed all his chips on Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to turn it around, and they will. But when? And until then, what is the strategy? As Howard Eskin asked, how long will it be – 15 games, a month, 60 days? With Atlanta and New York building early leads, they could bury themselves in April.
When the entire team falls flat time and time again - with runners on base, for example - it isn’t luck or happenstance. Something is off, a situation that has now been confirmed by opposing players. Larry Bowa was a poor fit to handle the players’ delicate egos, but Manuel represents the opposite extreme. The players admittedly care about Manuel. They like playing for him and know he's upset. But they’re 2-8 against their division foes and have shown no urgency. There is never any consequence, and knowing they need to step up isn't the same as acting on it.
Isn't it time for the front office to realize the Phillies have outgrown Charlie Manuel and stop a bad situation from getting worse?