It’s hard to fathom baseball in Philadelphia without skipper Charlie Manuel. Well no need to worry Phillie phans, Uncle Cholly will officially be the manager of our team through the 2013 season. The new deal worth between $7-8 million for 2012 and 2013 will put Manuel in the top 5 highest paid managers, right where he belongs to be.
Since arriving in 2004 Manuel has been nothing short of legendary. He has won 4 straight NL East Division titles, two National League Pennants, and of course a World Series Championship in 2008. He did what phans have been dreaming of since the days of Dallas Green. The fact that Opening Day was rapidly approaching and no new deal had been worked out yet was starting to make me uncomfortable. Not for the fact that I thought the Phillies didn’t want Charlie back after 2011 but just that I think he deserves the upmost respect in this organization and today he got his just due.
The environment in Philly hasn’t always felt like it does now. After a 97 win season in 1993 and a NL Pennant to go along with it the Phillies fell on some hard times. Through the rough years of Terry Francona and the slim glimmer of hope with Larry Bowa, the Phillies just couldn’t find that coach that could take them where they needed to be. Players bumped heads with the hard-nosed Bowa and the former shortstop was run out of town.
The Phillies brass had snuck Charlie into the front office as a special assistant to the GM before Bowa even made his departure. It was writing on the wall for Bowa and a new skipper in line for the Phillies. Now Charlie definitely wasn’t the “phan favorite” when he officially became skipper in 2005, but he quickly changed that notion.
It’s hard to imagine Manuel as not being a phan favorite, but it took some time for him to win over the Philly phaithful. He has taken a team loaded with talent and turned them into champions. The entire organization is 100% devoted to championship baseball and you can see it by the way they go after talent, by the way they sell out every home game, and by the way they honor their skipper who brought them home that illustrious trophy. Now Manuel isn’t the sole reason for the turnaround of baseball in Philly but he deserves a boat load of the credit.
So today is a great day in Philly baseball, amongst all the Spring Training question marks there is something we can check off our list. We don’t know what is up with Chase’s knee or why our offense just hasn’t seemed to come alive yet in sunny Florida, but we do know that our beloved skipper will be in our dugout through the 2013 season. That my friends is great news. Charlie is and always will be a Phillie for life. It is hard not to love our skipper.
“I want to stay with Philadelphia as long as I’m in baseball, and I’m a Phillie. I look at myself as a Phillie. Yeah, I was with the Indians, and I was with the Kinetsu Buffaloes, and I was with the Yakult Swallows, and I was with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But I’m a Phillie. And if I cut my arm, it’s going to be red blood, and not blue.
"This ones for Philadelphia!" Uncle Cholly, it's great to have ya!