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Ruben Amaro Jr. cries after firing Charlie Manuel (Video)

Ruben-Amaro-Jr-cryingWhen word first surfaced that Charlie Manuel was out as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, many people expected the 69-year-old to announce he had resigned. That clearly was not the case. Like most other teams who have fallen well short of expectations would have done, the Phillies fired their manager.

On Friday afternoon, Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and Manuel met with the media to address the move. Amaro Jr. was very emotional before turning the floor over to his former manager.

“You people may not know the relationship I’ve had with Charlie,” he said while fighting back tears. “He’s a special person. This is difficult for me. I hope he stays in our organization.”

Manuel had been with the Phillies for more than eight seasons. He led the team to its first World Series title in 28 years when they won it in 2008. We have no way of knowing if Amaro Jr.’s emotional display was genuine, but I’m sure he would have rather been able to keep Manuel around if the team was doing well.

As Jonathan Papelbon indicated in a not-so-graceful manner a few weeks ago, the Phillies are in need of major changes. Firing the third-longest tenured manager in Major League Baseball certainly qualifies as a major change.

H/T The 700 Level

Charlie Manuel reportedly out as Philadelphia Phillies manager

charlie-manuelThe Philadelphia Phillies and Charlie Manuel are reportedly parting ways. The team announced at a press conference on Friday afternoon that a managerial change is being made. Ryne Sandberg will take over for the remainder of the season on an interim basis. The news was first reported by CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury.

This is Manuel’s ninth season as manager of the Phillies. He is the winningest manager in team history and led Philadelphia to its first World Series win in 28 years back in 2008. He was the longest-tenured manager in Major League Baseball behind Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels and Ron Gardenhire of the Minnesota Twins.

The Phillies are currently 53-67 after finishing 81-81 in 2012. The team is going through a transitional period and has dealt with a plethora of injuries, so it makes sense that their 69-year-old manager will not be sticking around. However, it does come as a surprise that Manuel is leaving in the middle of a season.

Sandberg has been mentioned as a managerial candidate for several openings over the past couple of seasons, so this will give the Phillies a chance to evaluate him. He’ll be coaching for his job the rest of the way.

Charlie Manuel flips on reporter, talks about knocking him out (Video)

Charlie-Manuel-PhilliesThe Philadelphia Phillies have lost nine of their last 14 games and are having a lot of trouble scoring runs. Following a 4-3 loss to the New York Mets on Friday night, Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel was in no mood to answer trivial questions.

Chase Utley made his return from the disabled list in the loss and stranded men in scoring position on two different occasions. Manuel pointed out that he hit the ball hard, which he said was encouraging. When FOX 29’s Howard Eskin asked about the rest of the lineup, the 69-year-old manager went off on a tirade.

“Stop thinking about that — ‘Is the rest of the lineup gonna be fine?'” Manuel snapped back, via CSNPhilly.com. “Do I know if the rest of the lineup is gonna be fine? If I knew that, don’t you think I’d do something about it? Does anybody else know that Howard? Do you know it? I don’t think so. I know you don’t as a matter of fact. Who does know it?”

Eskin then pushed further and started to ask Manuel a question about whether or not there are any changes left to be made if the lineup doesn’t start producing.

“I don’t know what I can do,” Manuel interrupted. “If we don’t hit and score runs, I don’t know what we can do. I don’t know what nobody else can do about it and I know you can’t do a damn thing about it. So what else you wanna know? Anything else?”

At that point, Manuel stood up and began walking away from the press conference in disgust. On his way out, Eskin asked when the team is going to score 10 runs.

“When I knock you out,” Manuel turned around and said. “That’s when.”

Oh boy. The good news is the Phillies were able to come away with an 8-7 victory over New York on Saturday on a walk-off win that inspired an epic crotch chop from Jimmy Rollins. However, Eskin may want to watch himself. If we have learned anything from epic meltdowns like this, it’s that Manuel tends to have a pretty short fuse.

Here is a video of the exchange between Eskin and Manuel:

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Charlie Manuel concerned with Roy Halladay’s spring struggles

Roy HalladayLast week we told you that Roy Halladay’s velocity was down during a spring outing against the Washington Nationals. Though he had success in that start (facing only one Nats starter), his velocity was down again Tuesday and this time he struggled.

Halladay gave up seven runs, six hits, four walks, and two home runs in 2.2 innings against a Detroit Tigers lineup that did not include Prince Fielder or Miguel Cabrera. He reportedly was only throwing in the mid-80s during the appearance. The poor outing and overall struggles have caused Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel to be concerned.

“Yeah, it concerns me,” Manuel said, per David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News. “But at the same time, I been in the game long enough to know that if there’s nothing wrong with him, you keep working with him. If he’s healthy and well and there’s nothing wrong with him, then he’s gotta get stretched out and everything.”

Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee seemed to be even more concerned.

“I don’t know where he is going to get back to,” Dubee said, via Murphy. “I don’t. Who does? I don’t have a crystal ball, but I know that his work ethic is still there, his desire is still there, so I’ll take my chances.”

Dubee saying he does not know where Halladay will get back to is a response to the pitcher returning from different injuries last season (lat, shoulder, back).

Halladay has certainly given us many reasons to believe in him, but the low velocity sure is a concern. He might be stiff, sore, or holding back during spring training, but you have to wonder why he’s not closer to being in top form with the season starting in a few weeks.

H/T Hardball Talk

Jimmy Rollins pulled for not hustling

Two weeks after a billboard went up in Philadelphia criticizing Jimmy Rollins for not hustling, the Phillies shortstop was pulled from a game for repeating the same offense. Rollins did not run hard after popping up in the sixth inning of Thursday’s Phillies-Mets game (pictured above), so he only made it to first instead of second when the ball dropped. He later was tagged out after making a poor decision on a fielder’s choice. The lack of hustle was enough to merit a benching from manager Charlie Manuel.

“I got two rules: Be on time and hustle. And hustle’s part of it,” Manuel said after the game. “Running balls out is definitely part of it.

“It’s a reflection on myself, it’s a reflection on whoever don’t do it, and things like that. It’s a reflection on our team, it’s a reflection on the organization. My frustration grows every time I see anyone not hustle,” said Manuel.

Rollins reacted defiantly when asked after the game if he planned to talk to about being pulled.

“Hell, no,” Rollins said, per Todd Zolecki. “[Charlie Manuel] already told you what happened. There you go.”

It’s about time Manuel addressed the matter. It doesn’t matter what is going on with a player — there is no excuse for not hustling and running out balls hard. Being a former MVP shouldn’t excuse Rollins from this basic expectation.

Below is a video of Charlie Manuel talking about the benching following Philly’s 3-2 win:

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Charlie Manuel on the Squirrel: I’m a Pretty Good Shot

For the second day in a row at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, a squirrel got loose on the field. This time, it actually appeared to have disrupted play by scurrying in front of home plate just after Roy Oswalt had thrown a pitch. Oswalt complained to the umpire after the pitch, and seemed to suggest that either a) he was bothered by the squirrel or b) the umpire got distracted and forgot to call the pitch a strike. It wouldn’t matter because the squirrel ran into the stands and Oswalt proceeded to get Skip Schumaker to fly out.

Anyhow, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who also went out to protest the squirrel’s presence on the field, was asked about the stray rodent after the game. He busted out with some Southern humor.

“There’s not too much I can do about a squirrel running across the field. I don’t know what I can do about that. Of course, being from the South, and being a squirrel hunter, if I had a gun I might have done something. I’m a pretty good shot,” he joked.

At least, we think he was joking. If the eating habits of Takeo Spikes are any indication, he might be serious.

Charlie Manuel Calls Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain Good But not Great

The Philadelphia Phillies just lost a three-game series to the San Francisco Giants. They were beaten by Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain who held them to one run apiece. The series loss comes after the Giants knocked out the Phillies in the NLCS last year with Cain and Lincecum going 2-1 against them. Needless to say, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel fielded his share of questions from the media that wondered if Lincecum and Cain had taken proverbial ownership of them.

Manuel wasn’t willing to concede an inch.

“They’re good pitchers. You say they’re great pitchers. To me, I don’t know how great they are. I think as they move on into their careers, there’s the longevity part and things like that. I think that’s when the greatness might come by. This is a consistent game. When you say somebody is great … tonight I saw 90 fastball, 92 at the best. I saw a good changeup. I saw a breaking ball. I saw a cutter. Good pitching, but at the same time we can beat that. I’ve seen us do that.”

“We can beat them. I know we can.”

Sounds more like a pep talk than statement of fact, no? It really comes across as if the Giants are in the Phillies’ heads after beating them this series. The teams meet again next week for a four-game set and you know the Phillies will want to make a statement. If their bats don’t come alive, prepare to hear more chants about the Giants being poised to repeat as NL champions. Besides, we all know what Manuel thinks deep down. He just is afraid to admit it.