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Let us take a moment to praise Charlie Manuel

Sep 8, 2010, 10:30 AM EDT

In which I set aside my extreme Braves-panic and tip my hat to Charlie Manuel, who has done a hell of a job this year.

I promise you that I’m not panicking. I know that every team goes through a bad stretch and the Braves are just having one right now. I know they are merely a half game back and still lead the wild card race. I know that things could change tomorrow and they could rocket back into first place. I’m just not in the mental space this morning to be optimistic because, you know, the Pirates.

But nor am I going to get all gloomy and doomy either. Rather, I’m of a mind that, my rooting interests not withstanding, it’s a good day to reflect on the job Charlie Manuel has done in Philly. Sam Donnellon does that today and sums it up pretty perfectly:

Say before the season that someone told you Chase Utley would miss two months, Jamie Moyer would tear up his arm, Joe Blanton would be awful for the first three months, Madson would break his toe throwing a tantrum, Kyle Kendrick again would be demoted, J.C. Romero would be ineffective, Rollins and Victorino would get hurt and not hit, and Ibanez would be an automatic out for the first half of the season. What would you say their record should be on Aug. 31?

Donnellon’s point — and it’s a good one — is that Manuel never panicked like so many managers would have in his situation. Indeed, he begins his article with a list of moves that many managers — and no small number of talk radio listeners — would have made or demanded had they been faced with what Charlie Manuel has had to deal with. He’s kept an even keel, however. He has constantly made the correct judgment that he has the most talented team in the NL, and that he was either going to win or lose with that talent deployed in reasonable ways.

Which is one of the reasons I like the guy so much (well, that and the 1940s-speak he occasionally whips out).  He doesn’t need to prove to anyone that he’s a technical genius. He doesn’t need to make a show out of chewing people out. He doesn’t pass the buck to his front office or blame the media or any of that stuff. He goes in, does his job, pencils in reasonable lineups most of the time and lets his talent win out.

I’m guessing Bud Black will get most of the Manager of the Year votes this fall. But Charlie Manuel deserves his fair share of them, brother. Because the answer most people would have given to Donnellon’s question at the end of the blockquote would be “80-60; first place NL East.”

  1. vandalen - Sep 8, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    Craig? Is that you?

  2. Jonny5 - Sep 8, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    And many of our embarrassing Philly fans have been calling for his head. What? all of a sudden only first place is acceptable? These bandwagoners as i call them don’t remember what the Phills did before Charlie. They pretty much sucked on a regular basis. We had players begging to be traded, like Houston has today. Really? Bring back Bowa? Larry Bowa is loved in Philly, by me as well, but he isn’t as good as Chuck, plain and simple. Well now that they’re playing their .750 ball they will hide again and become cheerleaders, bastards. Anyway, hats off to Charlie. And i don’t care what anyone says Bobby Cox is in the Jonny5 manager of the year running too. No one predicted the Braves to be 20 games over .500 at this point. He has managed to get a team to pretty much (no offense) play over their head for most of the season. And ya know what, they could easily continue to do so. You never know. I’d say Bobby has one hell of a curtain call season so far. He’ll be proud of it, unlike other managers who tossed their hats in before the season was even over, because his team sucked, and he could in no way bring them anywhere. I think that was really lame, and a show of character, or lack of. Who buys the whole mommy thing?

  3. Omega - Sep 8, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Being a Rockies and Cubs fan it is real hard to like the Phillies.
    Being a baseball fan it is even harder to not love this team the last few years and the job Charlie Manuel has done with them.
    As long as they aren’t playing either of my teams, I do root for the Phillies and would not be ashamed to have them as the NL representative in the World Series this year, as my guys will be nowhere near it.

  4. Jonny5 - Sep 8, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Craig, you have fallen from grace. A plug on a phillies blog. What to do now??? You may have to change your name. ;>P

  5. ie1950 - Sep 8, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    Charlie Manuel deserves a lot of votes for manager of the year because of the way he’s handled one setback after another with all the injuries we’ve had and still we’re in 1st place after all that…..I know that Bud Black will probably win it because the Padres were supposed to be awful and look where they are but Manuel had to deal with his entire infield being on the IR at one time or another as well as Victorino being out for a subtantial time…..and still he managed to keep the fightin Phils close enough until everyone got back to the lineup healthy…..Let me see anyone else go through what he did and be able to compete at the high level they have……

  6. Adenzeno - Sep 8, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    This happened to the Mets last year and they finished in the International league-Kudos to the Phillies

  7. Utley's hair - Sep 8, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    I agree that Chuck needs to get votes, but he won’t win it. He will finish third behind Black and Cox, simply due to what the Friars have done this year, and it being Cox’s last year and how he has them playing, especially with that injured 90-year-old they had plugged in at the hot corner. Black will take it, but Cholly has to get votes with all the injuries.

    The only gripe I have with his handling of this year’s Phightins is the discipline. Werth should have been pined for his lack of concentration on base and idiotic plays like that throw to third last night.

  8. Megary - Sep 8, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    One of these days when Fangraphs finally figures a way to measure this stuff, they will look back and see that Cholly was always a league leader in Manager WAR.

  9. JimmyY - Sep 8, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    Don’t forget about Dusty Baker in MOY talk.

  10. Jonny5 - Sep 8, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    And that’s fine by me too. They all have done an exceptional job. I agree about Werth. I really think he has allowed his impending FA to eff with his mind. He’s just trying too hard imo. I also think Charlie’s just doing what Charlie does when guys screw up. These are grown men here, they know how to play the game correctly, and when they screw up, they know it. Charlie has only benched guys for not trying hard enough, I’ve never seen him bench guys for trying too hard.

  11. matt - Sep 8, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Jonny5, what are you talking about? What papers are you reading or what fan boards have you seen that have been asking for Charlies head?? I’m not sure what you are looking at. Does he get the occasional knock for his pitching moves or his odd lineup here and there? Of course he does just as Cox does on any Braves board. Just read any Braves board today and see how Cox is being talked about now that the Braves are struggling. He’s “old” and “losing it”, yadda yadda yadda. What you are doing is simply being anti-philly fan when convenient and giveing us the age-old “I knew it all along when everyone else jumped ship”. Its an old ,tired, and phony act performed by many. The players have taken the brunt of the fans ire and I guarantee you I see as much Phillies related TV and print as you do. Your way off base and taking the low-brow way out like the national media does and trashing philly fans based on nonsense. At least go all the way and bring up the throwing snowballs at santa and all of philadelphia booing Donovan McNab at the draft (the fact that it was just 30 guys hired by a radio station to boo his pick gets conveniently left out of course) if your going to be weak-minded about it.

  12. Dasher521 - Sep 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    I’ve always been a big Bowa fan. But it was time for him to go. I looked around at the best (or those considered to be the best) managers at the time. Cox? Yep! Torre? Yep! They were managers who had a calming influence on their team and kept their players on an even keel. That is why Charlie was such a good hire. The fans wanted Leyland at the time. Nothing personal, but quitting out in Colorado left a bad taste with me. There are many times I find myself disagreeing with a move Charlie makes … but generally, he is right. I go to a fair amount of games and follow the Phils pretty closely and I don’t hear much about the fans wanting his head. The only think that I really find somewhat distressing is that the Phils have been making too many mental errors. I believe Charlie will those players aside and set them, and the team, straight. It ain’t over. Twenty-two is still a lot of games left.

  13. Utley's hair - Sep 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    Did you click through on the link in the post? If so, you could see quite a few morons on there calling for Chuck’s head.

  14. Judy - Sep 9, 2010 at 7:02 AM

    I am a regular listener of Philly talk radio and can’t recall a SINGLE CALLER saying that Charlie should be fired. Who makes this stuff up?

  15. Jonny5 - Sep 9, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    “Jonny5, what are you talking about?” Go back to the linked article written when they were just emerging from a mini slump. Then start reading the reader comments, go through every page, those people are who i’m talking about. I’m one of the biggest defenders of Philly fans, so please, save it. I was talking about the people who can’t handle losses without flipping out and blaming Manuel for being inept at his job, basically saying he sucks. It’s as if they never saw the times the Phillies playoff chances were over by now this time of year. you know before Manuel. Then as soon as wins come, the cheerleading begins and no more talking trash on Manuel, until next time they slump. I frequent that website, and I’ve seen it over and over again.

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