“Oh, I don’t think there’s any question about that. Those are sensitive questions and I know people have to ask them, but I don’t have any thought about doing anything differently.”
Diplomatic, or ambiguous, as ever, Ruben could have been answering a question about switching hair conditioner brands. Instead, he was deciding the fate of one of the city’s most treasured, questioned, and West Virginian sports icons.
It’s a point that’s been tossed around quite a bit in the past few months: Should Charlie Manuel manage this team in 2013? With Ryne Sandberg waiting at Triple-A, yet constantly being tantalized by crosstown offers, the window may be limited.
Of course, for anyone able to stifle their instinctive, Philadelphian desire to frantically blame someone in the face of adversity, Charlie seems the obvious answer. He’s the one in charge, he’s the one mismanaging the bullpen, he’s the one calling for poorly timed sacrifice bunts, he’s the one having to make thankless decisions when his players have the audacity to jog as if they don’t even care about the feelings of sports radio call-in hosts.
I’ve felt in particular, when things are bad, people like to out-shock each other with how much worse they can get. It’s some kind of defensive mechanism, so that if things go really wrong, they can be like “I TOLD YOU GUYS THIS TEAM SUCKS,” and if they go right they can gleefully spew, “GUESS I WAS WRONG .”
Calling into a radio show or screaming at a stranger on the subway or informing your daughter via text message during finger painting that your theory is that Charlie Manuel is to blame is a great way to get people talking. But it’s not really necessary or accurate, yet. And it may not be your baseball analysis that they’re talking about.
First of all, the “players manager” of a team that’s made the playoffs every year since 2007 until now should be allowed more than one sub-par season, especially if that season is so weighed down by crippling injuries that the team can’t even get out of bed in the morning (assuming they all sleep in the same giant bed in red pinstripe jammies and caps like in all my drawings).
Secondly, any manager’s shortcomings become more exposed and scrutinized when everybody’s marching around the city in a foul mood after another humiliating loss.
The offense wasn’t offensing! The bullpen is crap! Damn it, Kyle! These are accusations we’ve heard plenty of times. But it wasn’t since early in his tenure as Phillies manager that we heard Charlie’s name brought up as someone to ditch next year. And that’s why it’s so fun and shocking and SEO-intensive to bring it up–but Charlie isn’t a guy whose career isn’t built on constant states of radical evolution. Chances are, he has been maintaining the same style of management since his hiring, but wasn’t until recently doing it in front of an audience foaming at the mouth to blame him for stuff.
So, while any statement from Ruben Amaro is about as useful as a gust of wind, it is no real surprise to see that he “intends” to bring back Charlie in 2013. But it’s important to keep in mind that Ruben does whatever he wants without checking with us first.