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Manuel's departure was as unsatisfying as his tenure was gratifying.
The Phillies' handling of the firing of Charlie Manuel was the ultimate proof of the adage which holds that every ending is a bad ending.
Manuel deserved the opportunity to start the final season of his contract. He had earned that much after winning five straight National League Eastern division titles, two pennants and a World Series.
It would have been absurd to fire a manager for one .500 season after five straight playoff runs.
But once the Phillies lost three of four to the Los Angeles Dodgers to wrap up three consecutive months of non-winning baseball, the time was right to let Manuel go.
In typical Phillies fashion, though, they left their finger on the trigger for too long without pulling it, allowing the team to go on a mini-run that had the team at .500 on July 20.
At that point, the team might as well have announced that Manuel would finish the season. Because what ended up happening next was just sad.
The Phillies lost 19 of 23 games, leading to Manuel's awkward parting.
Of all the things the Phillies might regret about the way 2013 played out, Manuel's ending might be the saddest of them all.