Howard Eskin’s past cruelty toward Phillies manager Charlie Manuel can’t absolve yesterday’s boorish and childish behavior.
Anyone familiar with yesterday's fight card knows the particulars: Eskin is a staunch critic of Manuel with strong ties to the man he replaced, Larry Bowa; Manuel has played the role of folksy, misunderstood outsider with a reputation for being a players’ manager.
Dealing with Eskin, playing the role of Howard Eskin, and the rest of the notoriously critical and often overbearing press corps comes with the job description, yet surprisingly few officials ever take the bait. Eskin's question on whether it was time to light a fire under his players, prefaced by Lou Pinella’s clubhouse challenge to the Cubs earlier this week, was justified and fair. Raise your hand if you're wondering the same thing, just as the Mets broadcasters, Mets players and others connected to baseball have been scratching their heads over for three seasons.
If Manuel is cracking under the pressure now, what will he do when it isn't April 17?