Fresh off being swept in three games by the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, the calls to local sports talk radio stations regarding the firing of Phillies’ skipper Charlie Manuel have again heated up. And while there is a very good chance that Manuel might very well succumb to either boredom or old age before the season ends, the chances that this year will be his last with club are increasing more and more everyday.
(cue: sigh of relief)
It’s never too early to look to the future and the Phillies, if they were smart, should be looking for new managers to replace Manuel right now. With a definitive lack of interesting things to write about this week (except Chase the Consistent leading National League second basemen in All Star voting and enticing numerous Philly women to eat more Tasty Cakes, thanks to the new billboard on I 95) I thought I’d explore some possibilities for a new manager.
Join me, won’t you?
(cue: begrudging moan followed by a long, drawn out ‘okay’)
1.) Joe Girardi. This seems like the most logical choice. Just look at what Girardi did with a young, inexperienced Marlins team last year. He took a team lacking discipline and direction and got them in NL Wild Card race, being rewarded for his efforts with the NL Manager of the Year award and a pink slip. Girardi was fired, citing numerous disagreements with Marlins management. He has a tough style and is old school in his belief of how a club should be run. A couple of months ago, the talk was that Girardi would replace Joe Torre as manager of the Yankees. But with the emergence of Donny Baseball on the Yanks’ bench, it’s looking like Girardi might be available after all. He’d be a perfect match for the Phillies, a team like last year’s Marlins, that lacks discipline and direction. Now there is a good chance of a player rebellion, given the fondness Phillies’ players have for Manuel, and Girardi’s no nonsense style may bruise some egos. But you know what? That’s life. Sometimes you have to do stuff you don’t want to do and hear things you don’t want to hear, but in the end, both will make you a better person. I hate waiting for people to parallel park and long lines at the post office, but I’d like to think that both are teaching me to be better person. Or they’re teaching me to walk more and pay my bills on-line. I’m not sure. I am sure though, that Girardi and the Phillies would be a dynamite fit.
2.) Jimmy Williams. On Howard Eskin’s show this afternoon he went on a long tangent (very surprising) about the sorry state of the Phillies (even more surprising) and how ownership really isn’t concerned about winning baseball games because they’re still making a profit (not at all surprising.) Eskin also mentioned that when the Phillies brought in Williams as an assistant coach, the idea was for him to replace Manuel if they time came to replace good ol’ Charlie. Okay. So they’re replacing one old and detached southern gentleman for another. Interesting. Williams most recently was with Houston and before that Boston, both teams that significantly improved after he left. Like Manuel, Williams is well liked by players and manages with a relaxed style. But is he the answer? Well is getting generic Frosted Flakes at ACME really any different than getting regular Frosted Flakes? It’s the same colored box, the same amount of sugar, and ultimately the same cereal. Sure it costs a little bit less, but in the end you’re probably going to just waste that money on crap you don’t need (i.e. ice cream or Adam Eaton.)
3. Milton Street. I have no idea if Street knows anything about baseball (or politics), but come on, just think about the press conferences he’d give! And imagine Uncle Miltie running out onto the field to argue with an umpire. Let’s face it. The way this team is going, they’re going to need entertaining figures to draw people to the park and unfortunately it will take much more than the Phanatic or the ball girls. This will only increase once Ryan Howard prices himself out of Philly and Cole Hamels blows his arm out after being moved to the bullpen and being overused by Manuel (is this really that far-fetched?).
4.) Tom Gordon. This move would be made strictly for economic reasons. He’s still on the payroll, already has a uniform and probably a parking spot. Might as well do something with him because we haven’t heard a peep about him since he went on the Disabled List in April.
Other possible candidates: Lenny Dykstra (why not?), John Kruk (he’d at least be funny), Snoop Dogg (did you hear what he did with his son’s peewee football team?), Tom Berenger (he did a good job in the Major League sequels), Tom Knox (money didn’t buy him the mayor’s office, but it could buy us a decent bullpen).
I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime, we have Barry Bonds and the Giants coming to town this weekend. Let’s see if he plays this time. Let the Bonds bashing begin!