Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has guided his team to the World Series for the second straight season. But it wasn't always rosy for the Southern skipper. When Philadelphia hired him in 2005, there were immediate questions about his coaching ability. And those questions did not disappear until 2008, when the Phillies won it all for the first time in a quarter century:
May 21, 2005 - AP:
Charlie Manuel has been ridiculed for his accent, criticized for his decisions and booed when he steps on the field.
Welcome to Philly, Cholly.
The Philadelphia Phillies' first-year manager didn't get a honeymoon period in a championship-starved city tired of rooting for a team that continually fails to meet expectations.
Though Manuel doesn't deserve all the blame for the Phillies' latest poor start, fans are taking out their frustrations on the folksy manager with the down-home charm and Appalachian drawl.
General manager Ed Wade also has been a favorite target for critics, but he doesn't walk to the mound to make pitching changes -- so he isn't jeered directly on a regular basis.
"Everybody is frustrated. I understand it," Wade said. "If I'm frustrated, our fans should be frustrated. We're not playing at a level where people should be happy."
But Wade insists Manuel isn't going anywhere. And he isn't worried about his own job, even though fans vehemently call for Wade's firing.
April 16, 2006 - The 700 Level:
Fire Charlie, Hire Dutch
It seems like the only logical move at this point. The Phillies are 1-6 and Vincente Padilla has more wins than the entire Phillies teams. Firing Charlie Manuel isn't the only move which needs to be made. The Phillies have to go BIG and by big I mean metaphysical in their next hiring. They need to bring in someone who hasn't only lost his marbles, but is a legend in this town.
[Correction: Apparently the post above was done in jest. On the internet, where there is no way to signify cadence, I just assumed this was for real. But apparently I was wrong. Sorry.]
April 19, 2007 - Philadelphia Inquirer:
The word on the street is that Charlie Manuel is on the hot seat.
But Phillies general manager Pat Gillick, the man who ultimately will decide Manuel's fate, did not make it seem that way on Wednesday. Gillick addressed speculation that Manuel, who is in the final year of a three-year contract, could be fired soon if the team doesn't snap out of its early season funk."We're behind Charlie," Gillick said in a telephone interview. "Basically, the manager usually gets the heat because the team doesn't start well. But, you know, I think the responsibility lies as much with the players as it does with the manager right now. There certainly was sufficient opportunity for us to win some games and score more runs than we have, and thus far we haven't done it. So we're just going to have to stay positive, keep our chin up, and fight through it."
Manuel was actually so unpopular initially that he had TWO websites dedicated to nothing but getting him fired: FireUncleCharlie.com and FireCharlieManuel.blogspot.com. The writer for the first site issued an apology after the Phils won it all, while the writer for the second site simply disappeared a month before they won the World Series.