After several weeks in therapy, the Phillies have finally begun the emotional process of collecting their pride and newfound abandonment issues and moving on.
Mark Parent is gone; he made his choice. Now he’ll spend the next year filling out lineup cards for the Chicago White Sox and taking over if Robin Ventura gets thrown out of the game. It was a career move, not a personal one, but it sure felt personal when he sat silently in the corner at First Energy Field during our birthday party, then said he was going out to get some cigarettes and he was taking everything he owned with him for some reason.
But like I said, he is gone, and now his role has been filled by this new guy, “Dusty.” Dusty Wathan has been around for a while, managing one of those championship Lakewood teams and down in Clearwater, but that doesn’t mean we have to call him “dad.”
He knows a lot of the players already, having managed them at lower levels of the farm system.
“We definitely should be pretty strong in starting pitching. That’s starting to become a trait in this organization.”
If that’s a pun, Dusty, then its a little early in our relationship for jokes. Also it wasn’t a very good one. Anymore of those and we’ll be running to our bedrooms in tears, screaming “YOU’RE NOT OUR REAL MANAGER!!!”
Elsewhere, Mickey Morandini was shifted up from Williamsport to manage at Lakewood, leaving the door open for Andy Tracy to step in and make the mark as a manager that he never really made as a player. The Crosscutters can take advantage of Tracy’s career full of experience in their shoes, and will undoubtedly have numerous tear-stained embraces in the Bowman Field locker room at various points throughout the season.
In his first time managing gig, Tracy will be facing the endless scrutiny that comes with coaching in the New York-Penn League. Whether or not he falters under the media pressure remains to be seen, but he’s not going to be very successful with a gaping vacancy in his staff.
*Puts on Williamsport hat*
Finally, in the wake of all this change, some things are, against all odds, staying the same. Despite rumors about being seduced by the Cubs and Cardinals, Ryne Sandberg is staying nestled within the warm, friendly bowels of the Phillies’ minor league system. This seemed especially strange, given Sandberg’s grand tenure as a Cub, his popularity in the town, his eagerness to manage, and the fact that he’s stated openly that he wants to manage the Cubs specifically.
But we can just bottle all that up and put it aside for another season as he tries to lead the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs to a second consecutive playoff season, following their first one ever. Ryne finally learned that once success has been achieved in one place, it is utterly impossible to achieve it elsewhere, and certainly not on a higher level of play, so its best to just stay where you are and just keep cultivating championship teams for the Phillies.