Is Philadelphia Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel on the Hot Seat?
The Philadelphia Phillies have won five consecutive National League East Division Championships.
In 2008 the Phillies won the World Series, beating the Tampa Bay Rays four games to one.
In 2009 the Phillies made a return trip to the World Series.
This time they were bested by the New York Yankees, four games to two.
So that's a five year run to the postseason that also included back-to-back appearances in the Fall Classic.
That's a pretty good resume for the man in charge.
That man is Charlie Manuel.
Manuel, like anyone else who comes to play, coach or manage in the City of Brotherly Love, was forced to earn the respect of the team's fan base.
It wasn't exactly an easy obstacle to overcome. Manuel's seemingly laid back approach and his West Virginia draw were not something Philadelphians were accustomed to.
Nevertheless, in 2005, Manuel's first season with the club, the Phillies managed 88 wins, two more than the previous season.
In 2006, they won only 85 games, however since 2006 it has been a steady progression upwards in the win column for the Fightin' Phils, culminating with last season's organization record 102 wins.
If the Phillies don't win the World Series this season, will Charlie Manuel be back in 2013?
With all of the winning, is it safe to say that Manuel has earned the respect and loyalty of the fanbase?
After all, he led the team and the city with that World Series win to its first major sports championship in 25 years.
Sports fans are a fickle bunch though. Win and things are great; lose and, well they're outside the window of your office with signs imploring ownership to put you out of your misery and send you packing.
This isn't an exaggeration.
This was a scene right out of South Philadelphia this past Fall as the Philadelphia Eagles' faithful grew more and more disgruntled with Eagles head coach Andy Reid.
The same Andy Reid that has won seven NFC East championships as well as earned Wild Card spots in two other postseasons.
Andy Reid, took over the Eagles in 1999 after the team and its fans suffered through a 3-13 1998 season.
So, while Reid took over a floundering team, Manuel took the controls of a team that was, in my opinion, already headed towards the playoffs.
The Phillies organization did a great job of molding their homegrown talent.
Who has done a better job leading his team?
In fact, the core players in the Phillies resurgence were almost all primarily players that the Phillies had drafted.
Looking back, the Phillies front office, the men evaluating the talent, had done an exemplary job and really set the stage for the Phillies to become the force that they have been.
Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Brett Myers and Cole Hamels were all selected by the Phillies in the amateur draft, and they all played crucial roles in the Phillies resurgence.
Two of these guys, Rollins and Howard, were NL MVPs, and of course Hamels was the NLCS MVP as well as the World Series MVP in 2008.
Most everyone would agree that Chase Utley, from 2005 to 2009 was the Phillies best and most consistent player. If not for the severe knee problems which are currently sidelining the second baseman, Utley would very likely still be the reigning top dog on the Phillies roster, at least as far as position players go.
This brings me to the pitching.
Everyone is familiar, at this point, with last season's four aces.
Roy Halladay. Cliff Lee. Cole Hamels. Roy Oswalt.
Those four names, it was argued in Philadelphia and beyond, were supposed to lead the Phillies to the greatest season any baseball team in Major League history had ever enjoyed. The ultimate capper was to be a World Series win.
Well instead, in a World Series or bust season, the Phillies lost in the first round of the playoffs, dropping the fifth and deciding game at home with Roy Halladay on the mound.
The team with the $172 million payroll went whimpering into the night.
Still there were no calls for Manuel's job.
To me, the question lingers...how long can one championship carry you?
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