Wednesday, April 18, 2007

End of the Line

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Charlie Manuel has been losing a lot of games.

Last night he lost his composure.

Soon he might lose his job.

The Phillies manager plays the part of the bumbling fool well. To an East Coast elitist, nothing is worse than a good ole' boy with a Southern accent disrespecting you.

And that's exactly what Charlie Manuel did to Howard Eskin, at least in the narcissistic radio personality's mind. It was never overt -- until last night-- but when Charlie refused to genuflect in front of the "King of Philadelphia sports radio," he sealed his fate at least between 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Those in the business know where Eskin stands. Whether it was Jimmy Johnson or his current man crush, Andy Reid -- Eskin has risen to the top of the Philadelphia sports world by inserting his nose firmly up the posteriors of those who accept his advances.

Ignore him and treat him like any other reporter and you become public enemy No. 1 -- just ask Allen Iverson or Manuel.

The fans, at least the ones who frequent WIP, really haven't figured that out.

So, despite the fact that Manuel has spent over 40 years in professional baseball and his 173 wins at the helm of the Phils were the most by any manager in their first two seasons since 1915-16, Eskin and others seized on Manuel's speech impediment as proof he was a moron.

The minions followed and Charlie is practically a cartoon now.

A cartoon that's going down swinging, however. After watching another pathetic performance by his lifeless band of underachievers, Manuel had enough of Eskin's tired act when the talk show host began prodding him.

Asked why he didn't show more anger in his news conferences like Lou Piniella or why he hasn't blistered his club all of 12 games into a 162-game MLB season, Charlie reacted and challenged Eskin to meet him in his office.

Eskin eventually entered and shouting ensued before hitting coach Milt Thompson had to hold Manuel back from attacking his protagonist.

In that moment, it became clear Manuel shouldn't be the manager of this team any longer.

When your club is 3-9 and you just lost to your main division rival 8-1, going 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position in the process, you really shouldn't be worried about what some half-wit on the radio says.

By acknowledging Eskin, Manuel validated him.
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