Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Slaughter the lamb


By Michael Rushton
Phanatic Magazine

The Phillies are off to a horrible start, but how much of it is Uncle Charlie's fault?

Manuel's job security will no doubt come under scrutiny -- unnecessarily -- after his blowup with radio fraud, excuse me, personality, Howard Eskin. Eskin called Manuel out for not being Lou Pinella and in the process got a reaction that without a doubt fueled the self-centered ego of importance that Eskin holds.

By the way, who came blame Manuel's response, really? How would you feel if at Christmas dinner, your nine-year-old cousin started questioning your ability to pick up women? Wouldn't you want to kick his rear? Can't you picture your uncle taking you down before you reached your snotty cousin?

But that is neither here nor there I guess. The real question that arises is that of Manuel's tenure in the City of Brotherly Love. Should Manuel go?

Not yet.

What has Manuel really done to deserve getting canned? Did he assemble this shoddy bullpen himself? Did he sign Adam Eaton? Is it the little things that are killing the Phillies or is it their inability to do the basics, things managers shouldn't have to teach?

Truth is, the Phillies aren't losing because of Manuel; it is because of themselves. Sure, he made a questionable lineup decision early in the season, but that was quickly righted.

What would you have Manuel do, bench the ice-cold Ryan Howard to send a message? Come on.
Until Manuel picks up a bat and fans on three pitches with the bases loaded, he can't be blamed for the Phillies' RISP numbers. His starting pitchers aren't throwing to their best ability yet either and the bullpen is what it was feared to be.

Bottom line is, Philadelphia is underachieving and firing Manuel would only make him the sacrificial lamb. If that is what you think will spark the club, then fine, fire him.

Maybe this outburst will serve as a spark. Think about when your parent or spouse is mad at you. Does it bother you more when you are yelled at directly, or if you know they are angry through their actions away from you?

I think the latter. Direct confrontation may just invoke anger or resentment. Even if the average Joe is at fault at his own occupation, does a verbal spanking from the boss help his mood?

However, when you know your wife is angry with you, but doesn't lay into you directly, you immediately go into damage control. I've been married just over five months and that is lesson number one to learn.

Perhaps this is what the Phillies will do; stand up for their skipper.

Or they could just sacrifice the lamb.

Defend or rip Uncle Charlie at mrushton@phanaticmag.com
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