Reaching baseball’s highest peak. Contract windfalls for several key components. Can Charlie Manuel keep his club on the razor’s edge?
It’s tough to repeat. Parity in professional sports has fossilized the old dynasties. In today’s world, great teams often unravel at the seams following a championship season, undone by egos, contract demands and complacency. When the Phillies step on the field next season, they’ll feel like different men. They say Manuel’s greatest attribute is getting his troops to play loose, but never in this context, never when the rest of the league is gunning for you, and never when the threat of self-satisfaction has been this dangerous. Manuel, himself the recipient of a handsome extension, must find a way, real or artificial, to reinvent the ambition of a year ago.