So can Philly withstand the exit to two large coaching icons in the same two-year period? First Andy Reid and his mustache rode off into the sunset as head coach of the Eagles after 12 years, and now this. The Phillies are holding a press conference right now officially saying goodbye to Charlie Manuel, fired after a nine-year tenure, in which he compiled a 780-636 record and one World Series title. Ryne Sandberg will now take over. The king in the North!
Manuel appeared in a press conference with Philles GM Ruben Amaro, and said that the decision to let him go was actually made on Wednesday, meaning that he managed Thursday’s game knowing that it would be his last. He also emphasized that he didn’t quit. “It was something they wanted to do,” he said.
Manuel also indicated that the veteran players had started to tune him out.
Many are questioning the timing on this — why not let Manuel coach out the season? Or, at least let him go next week? The Phillies were planning on honoring Manuel today for his 1,000th victory (he won 220 games as manager the Indians). Perhaps they’ll still do it, but man. How do you bring out a guy out onto the field you just fired? Odd.
For the record, Manuel says that his age was a factor in the team’s decision to remove him. He’ll be 70 in January.
Amaro: “We are in a transition phase. Charlie can manage for two or three more seasons, but we’re looking at five or even six years down the road. I guess my feeling is that we still have talent, and the group we have can be a contending team.”
Sandberg, who called himself “the interim manager” during today’s press conference (he’s talking right now):
“A little bittersweet moment for myself, to be honest. As it will be for everybody, the players, the coaches, it’s also an opportunity. We have 42 games left.”
Manuel, on what he’ll do with his time now:
“I’ll probably still go to the stadium late at night, and then leave before everyone gets here in the morning.”
That will make him Phantom of the Citizens Bank Park: