Charlie Manuel is no longer the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.
That is a very strange thing to type.
The Phillies, not wanting to drag things out, told Manuel a day and a half ago that his contract would not be renewed for next year. So he was essentially being fired once October rolled around. Manuel made it clear during the press conference that he did not resign and did not quit. It seems like he decided that he would recognize his firing now as opposed to when the season concluded in October. Ryne Sandberg has been named the interim manager. Wally Joyner, the assistant hitting coach, will coach first base. Juan Samuel will move from coaching first to coaching third.
While making the announcement, Ruben Amaro choked up and was clearly holding back tears. At that point, I couldn't hold back the tears either. It's the end of an era. Charlie Manuel was sharp, honest, and good natured during the press conference. In other words, he was thoroughly himself. Manuel has been asked to remain in the organization, but has not made a decision about his future yet.
There are still a number of questions that remain unanswered, such as who this directive came from. Ruben Amaro himself? The faceless ownership group? Regardless of how it happened or who it came from, it doesn't change the facts. Charlie Manuel presided over one of, if not *the* most successful era in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies. He's the best manager the Phillies have ever had. He led the Phillies to five straight postseasons. He led them to a World Series win. He won more games with the Phillies than any other manager -- 780. He loves baseball, and it shows in everything he does. He talks about it like he's an excited kid, like it's full of magic and wonder.
Thank you, Charlie. Thank you for 2008. Thank you for the best World Series speech we've ever heard. Thank you for your honest, entertaining press conferences. Thank you for threatening to beat up Howard Eskin. Thank you for giving your time and talent to the Phillies, and to the fans.
Thank you for everything, Charlie. We'll miss you.