August 21, 2013

Direct Kick: Manuel deserved better from Philly

By Denis House
Sports Editor

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — As the old saying goes, “what have you done for me lately?” I guess that’s what the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization was thinking when they fired manager Charlie Manuel over the weekend.

Yes, the Phillies are 21.5 games out of first place with only 39 games left in the season, so, unless the biggest miracle in baseball happens, their season is all but over. It has been for quite a while now. Of course they are only 15.5 games out of first in the wild card standings, but I still don’t see them making the playoffs this season.

So Philly decided it was time for Manuel to go. Never mind that he led the team to five straight division titles and the 2008 World Series title. He never had a full losing season with the Phillies, and when he was let go, he had won exactly 1,000 games. His 2011 team went 102-60. A year after winning the World Series Philly again returned to the fall classic, but failed to win the title.

So where am I going with all this?

I think what Philadelphia did to Manuel was low. After all he’s done for the organization he deserved better than this. Since the season was all but over why not let him finish out the year, then let him go? Or better yet, considering his proven track record, why not just go out in the off season and get him some better players and then see how next season goes?

Now I’m not a Philadelphia fan, but even I think this stinks. The City of Brotherly Love sure didn’t show any to the man who made them one of the best teams of the last half decade.

Manuel has overcome a lot of medical issues over the last few years, and I’m sure he will overcome this injustice.

Probably the biggest disappointment this season has to be the Washington Nationals.  After last year’s 98-64 season and NL East title, as I write this the Nationals are only 60-63 and 15.5 games out of first behind the Atlanta Braves. They are also 9.5 games out of the wild card so there’s a good possibility they won’t even make the playoffs this season.

Nationals’ fans will have to once again question the organization’s decision to shut Stephen Strasburg down late in the season, causing him to miss the playoffs. The Nats eventually lost to St. Louis in the division series. Had Strasburg been available they might have won that series and advanced to the World Series. Instead they sat at home and watched it on TV, as they will probably do again this year.

It just goes to show you that you really have to play for the now and not the then in today’s world of sports. I understand why they shut Strasburg down last year, but with their poor showing this season it makes you wonder now if it was all worth it.

Staying on the diamond, let me just say I am sick of all this drama concerning Alex Rodriguez.

Baseball is out to get me. My own team is out to get me. Blah, blah, blah.

Just do us all a favor A-Rod and go away. Far away. You have been a black eye on the sport for the past few years.

When I was a child, I had a fever. My hands felt just like two balloons. Whoops, sorry. Slipped into a little Pink Floyd there. As I was saying, when I was a child, there were players I hated. Two that pop into my mind were Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente. I guess because both of them played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team that beat the Baltimore Orioles in the 1971 and 1979 World Series.

As I got older I realized it was stupid to hate those players and I grew to respect them. But I don’t think I can ever respect Rodriguez. If all the allegations against him are true then he’s been a cheater (he admitted using performance enhancing drugs early in his career), a liar and a snitch.

Not the three traits you look for in anyone.