Phillies fire manager Manuel, promote Sandberg
With Charlie Manuel seated to his left, Ruben Amaro Jr. broke
down in tears after announcing he fired his manager.
It was that emotional for the general manager and many
associated with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Manuel was let go Friday in the middle of a terrible second
half, ending the most successful run in club history. Hall of Famer
and former Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg, the Phillies’ third
base coach, replaced Manuel for the start of a 10-game
The Phillies didn’t play any better for Sandberg and lost 4-0 to
the Los Angeles Dodgers in his debut. They have lost 20 of 24.
It wasn’t an easy night, or day, for anyone in the
”You people may not know the relationship I’ve had with
Charlie. He’s a special person. This is difficult for me. I hope he
stays in our organization,” said Amaro, who took over as GM after
Manuel led the Phillies to the World Series title in 2008.
The managerial change didn’t help Friday night.
Zack Greinke (11-3) pitched three-hit ball into the eighth
inning and Hanley Ramirez homered to lead the streaking Dodgers to
a victory over Sandberg and the slumping Phillies.
”It was a roller coaster of a day emotionally,” Sandberg said.
”It affected me and I think it affects the players. … Tomorrow
hopefully we’ll get back to work and the game goes on.”
The 69-year-old Manuel, the winningest manager in club history,
was in the final year of his contract and wanted to manage another
two or three seasons.
”I never quit nothing and I didn’t resign,” Manuel said,
making it clear he was pushed out the door.
Manuel had been a folksy presence in the Phillies’ dugout since
the beginning of the 2005 season. He wasn’t a popular choice in
Philadelphia when former GM Ed Wade hired him to replace Larry
Bowa, but he became a beloved figure in a tough city.
”I think we’re all a little upset, a little sad,” second
baseman Chase Utley said. ”It’s not easy to see the guy you play
for, for nine years, not behind the batting cage right now watching
batting practice. It’s difficult.
”Charlie brought out the most in his players. He was a man you
could walk up to and he was the same every day. He was always going
to give that positive energy and a lot of times that translated to
”I definitely enjoyed Charlie and liked playing for him,”
added left-hander Cliff Lee said. ”I thought he did a good job.
It’s definitely our fault. We weren’t getting it done.”
Lee (10-6) pitched well on Friday night, but the Phillies
couldn’t provide any offense, finishing with three hits while
getting shut out for the 11th time this season.
Philadelphia hopes to turn things around under Sandberg.
”He’s a quiet guy, but when he speaks everybody listens,”
All-Star slugger Domonic Brown said. ”Guys definitely know he
knows what he’s talking about.”
Sandberg managed the Phillies’ Triple-A team at Lehigh Valley
the previous two seasons. He was part of one the most lopsided
trades in baseball history when the Phillies traded him and Bowa to
the Cubs for shortstop Ivan DeJesus in 1982.
”I must say that, for me, I recognize this day as Charlie
Manuel Day,” Sandberg said at his first news conference. ”What
he’s meant to the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization, what he’s
meant to the fans, the championships, the World Series, he’s tops
in the organization for what he did here. I really enjoyed my
nearly three years with him in spring training and being here in
Septembers, and this year especially being with him on a daily
basis. I wish Charlie the best with whatever he intends to do, and
he left a big footprint here in Philadelphia.”
Amaro said Sandberg takes over on an interim basis and would be
evaluated after the season. Sandberg inherits a team that dropped
to 5-20 since the All-Star break and is 21 1/2 games out of first
”These guys are professional players, they’re getting paid
well,” Sandberg said. ”Sometimes players have to dig deeper, play
with pride, play with heart and for the name on the front of the
Manuel won his 1,000th game as manager on Monday in Atlanta. Two
days later, he sat in the dugout knowing it would be his last game
after Amaro informed him of the decision not to extend his
”I think sometimes people forget how much I love to win,”
Manuel said. ”I think that goes unnoticed. I think sometimes I
don’t talk about it, because I push it to my team and how important
it is. Every day, I say our No. 1 priority is to win the game. When
we get away from that, we get into trouble. I love everything about
managing, and I think for us, the last couple years to fall back, I
get upset very much so. I want us to stay where we were at, I want
to compete for a World Series every year.”
Manuel led Philadelphia to the franchise’s second World Series
title in 2008 08 and brought the team back to the Series in 2009,
when it lost to the Yankees in six games.
Manuel was 780-636 with the Phillies and won five straight NL
East titles from 2007-11. He also spent three years as manager with
the Cleveland Indians, winning the AL Central in 2001.
Even with an aging roster, the Phillies were expected to contend
in the NL East this season, but the team has fallen apart.
Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay has missed most of
the season with an injury. First baseman Ryan Howard also has been
out with an injury. High-priced reliever Jonathan Papelbon has
struggled to close, and apart from Utley and Brown, the Phillies
haven’t hit much.
”We let down not only him, we let down the organization, we let
down the fans,” said lefty Cole Hamels, who is 5-13. ”But I think
ultimately, we let each other down. We really have to get back up
and discover who we are, and what we’re playing for. And go out
there and do it.”
Manuel’s abrupt dismissal angered many fans, who called into
talk-radio stations to express their bitterness. Most blame Amaro
for the Phillies’ decline.
Amaro has made several questionable moves since replacing Pat
Gillick. His decision to give Howard a $125 million contract nearly
two years before he was set to become a free agent has handcuffed
the team financially along with other big-money deals.
”This isn’t a blame game,” Amaro said. ”I’m not here to blame
Charlie for our issues. We all have a part in it.”
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AP freelance writer Aaron Bracy contributed to this report.