Today’s Phillies game was a disaster, nearly from start to finish. But after Charlie Manuel talked to reporters after today’s game, I can say at least this much; Manuel was not saying necessarily all of the right things, but he did capture the current state of the team perfectly in his words.
A few of his best lines broken down shows this.
“I never put it up to a level. I just feel about it how hot my face is.” – That was the answer to Charlie’s level of frustration after losing six straight games and being swept in a four-game series by the Dodgers. Someone quickly followed it up with the questions “How hot is it?” Charlie’s answer: “Pretty damn hot.”
“That creates big problems. That opens up a whole new ballgame. You’re going to have runners on base with mistakes and you’re going to give up runs because they advance like on some of those balls hit today.” – The Phillies, at one point during this game, had four errors on the board. One was changed to a hit, but regardless, the fielding today was atrocious. This was Charlie’s answer to the importance of errors and how they affect a game.
“I thought we lost that edge quite a while ago if you want to know the truth. We don’t scare nobody. We used to have a swagger. We used to be cocky in a real good way. Teams used to definitely fear us. I definitely don’t see that fear no more. I don’t see where we scare nobody. Nobody backs down from us; matter of fact they come right at us. They take it to us.” – This is the telling sign of where this team is right now. Confidence is gone. Swagger, as Charlie put it, is gone. This team flat out packs it in when the odds begin to stack in favor of the opponent. In four games against the Dodgers, the Phillies led in three and were tied after eight innings in the other. Their inability to play out the game has hurt them, but moreso it’s that fact that they have lost their intimidation. Instead of scaring opponents with aces and a daunting lineup, they come across as what they are: a Triple-A built last-place team. Not much to be scared of there.
“If I say something, I’ll never regret it. I’m that honest and that straight-forward. Everything I do is right in front of you. I have nothing to hide. When I signed on to take this job, I signed on to win and I’m still here to win. You can hold me accountable for anything our team does and I mean that.” – The other telling line of the presser. I honestly feel bad for Charlie. This is the team he has to work with and it has never panned out. There is no fault on a manager when this is all you have. Charlie used to have the luxury of writing out the same lineup every day. Now, he juggles it like a circus clown trying his best to keep the injury-riddled team in a playoff race. If he fails in doing so, it certainly doesn’t fall all the way down on him. And the tone with which he said these words was one that shows he can still lead this team. Without the players that he has been so accustomed to using during the run he’s been on as manager of this team, there isn’t much he can do. This series, I think that notion finally hit Charlie in a way we haven’t seen all season and that was sad to watch.
If any move is made, and based on what I heard today among the smattering in the crowd, a move must be made to restore faith in the fan base, it won’t involve Charlie. In fact, his comments today cemented his status with this team.