||11-05-2004 08:58 AM
No, I wouldn't rather have Fregosi. I would have liked Jim Leyland.
The real problem that I have is the dog and pony show the Phillies held when they knew darn well that Manuel (one of Ed Wade's boys and Jim Thome's choice) was going to get the job. Yes, according to MLB rules, they had to interview a bunch of people, including minority candidates. However, they knew that, after the miserable homestand that eliminated them last season, Bowa was going to be fired and that Manuel would be the replacement. That being said, they could have fired Bowa at that point, named Manuel the interim manager and then, once the season ended, made him the permanent manager. Had he been named the interim manager, they would not have to have held interviews.
The reason that they hired Manuel (not only because he is one of Wade's boys and the personal choice of Jim Thome) is that he is a "good clubhouse guy" and won't get on the players like Bowa did or Leyland would. He'll be the guy that, after Burrell strikes out on 3 pitches way out of the strike zone, or when Jimmy Rollins swings for the fences on the first pitch and pops out with runners in scoring position, or when Bobby Abreu plays his typical nonchalant manner and makes a misplays a fly ball or makes a baserunning error will pat them on the back and say "good try, you'll get him next time". At least the multi-millionaires will be happy as they have another mediocre season. You certainly wouldn't want to upset guys like Thome, Lieberthal and Burrell, would you?
All that matters is that people come to their brand new ballpark. Well, Montgomery, Wade, etc, I have some news for you. The Orioles did the same exact thing and guess what, eventually the novelty of a new ballpark wears off and people stop going when the team loses. Baltimore is a bit more laid back than Philly and people still went. The fact that Camden Yards is down on the Inner Harbor brings in some fans also helps. Last I checked, there aren't many tourists hanging around the Naval yards in South Philly. People stopped going last season after that disgraceful homestand that should have launched the team into the playoffs, not flush them out of them. A slow start next season is likely to do the same thing.
What really bothered me is that Jim Leyland said numerous times after the interview that he really wanted to come here. How often does a World Series winning manager come out and say things like that publicly?
I'm also expecting an uneventful off-season. Watch the Phils lose Milwood (which is fine with me) and Milton to free agency and not replace those large salaries with anything worth while. Maybe another third rate pitcher or utility guy. Might be nice to throw that cash at Beltran and get a legitimate centerfielder, but I doubt that will happen. They will give the company line that Marlon Byrd will come back from his bad sophomore season.
The Phils have some serious problems that just aren't going to go away. Mike Lieberthal is untradable with his huge salary and looks like Burrell is going to be a bust. Wagner wants out because he doesn't think the team can win. Personally, I would trade Thome to get rid of his salary and give Ryan Howard a shot at first base. Since Manuel is now the manager, Thome isn't going anywhere. That being said trade Howard. After his great year last season, he has some trade value. He cannot play any other position, so either he or Thome has to go.
And, no, I'm not bitter. :banghead: