If Charlie's A Goner, Do It Now

Intelligent people can have disagreements. Some very intelligent people believe Charlie Manuel should be fired and others believe he should stay. One thing that both camps would agree on is that if it's going to be done, do it now.

Charlie Manuel and his future with the Phillies have been discussed in the media almost every day for the last couple of weeks. Fire him, don't fire him, it's his fault, it's not his fault. Ask the players and they believe that he's not to blame. "Last year we had the most wins since this team has been to the World Series. And now he should get fired? Get real," said Jimmy Rollins in the Camden Courier-Post.

Rollins' stance can be debated and intelligent people can disagree on which side to take. One thing is sure; the Phillies should do something now. Today. This moment. If he's going to be fired, fire him. If not, then Pat Gillick should come out and emphatically state that Manuel is his manager for at least the rest of the season, no ifs, ands or buts, and then, he should stick to it. Letting any manager twist in the wind as the Phillies are doing with Manuel is a bad business move, but in the case of Manuel, it's also a bad move on a more human level. This is a guy who has given his life to the game and all can agree is a good guy. To make him face a room full of reporters everyday with vultures and buzzards flying around his head is simply wrong.

From a human stand point, Gillick should be in front of the media today, with Manuel by his side and make a decisive announcement one way or the other. It's simply the right thing to do. And if you argue that baseball is simply a business with little room for the human element, then Gillick should still make the same move.

Fire Manuel now and let somebody come in to try to work some magic and maybe manuever the team into a wild card run. Or, let somebody - insert Dallas Green's name here - evaluate the team to help chart a path for the future. Plus, if Gillick wants his buddy Lou Piniella to take over the club, he may have to move fast, since both the Cubs and Nationals are rumored to be interested in Piniella. If you're going to keep Manuel, then give him some muscle back and let the players look to rally around him if they truly want him to stay at the helm. A strong vote of confidence could be somewhat of a boost to the players, who genuinely do enjoy playing for "Uncle Charlie".

Yesterday, two "high ranking Phillies officials" told Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer that Manuel "ain't getting fired." Manuel has said publicly that he doesn't expect to get fired during the break and that he certainly doesn't want to get fired, but the circling vultures certainly seem to be getting the better of Manuel, at least at times. He's admitted that the talk and innuendos are tough to deal with and that he's heard from fans, colleagues and the media that his days could be numbered.

One way or another, the Phillies and Pat Gillick need to set this issue aside and plot a course for the future.


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