I wanted to wait and see how I felt about everything after the weekend before really diving in to the news of the Philadelphia Phillies firing Charlie Manuel and naming Ryne Sandberg as the interim manager Friday afternoon. In brief, it had to be done but not quite in this fashion. Overall, I am OK with what transpired.
Removing Charlie Manuel as manager now was the right decision to make, but how it was executed could have been altered without deviating form the overall goal. I have been firm on the idea that removing Manuel during the season was a perfectly acceptable decision if it means giving Sandberg some time to fairly be evaluated as a major league manager before taking a potential plunge with him in charge in 2014 and beyond. For an organization largely criticizes recently for not being forward-thinking enough, this was the right move to be made. I would much rather the Phillies come to a decision, for better or worse, regarding Sandberg as a potential manager now as opposed to the start or middle of the 2014 season. How much can truly be evaluated now given the talent available for Sandberg to manage the final month and a half is a concern, but if Sandberg completely implodes between now and the end of the season it would be better to know now as opposed to next year when you hope the Phillies start to get back on track.
Sandberg's goal is not to deliver a miraculous 12-game winning streak to get the Phillies back in the wild card hunt (but I'd be OK if he did). His job now is to prove he can manager a club and get the most out of the younger players on the field, on the mound and in the batter's box.
But back to the timing of it all. Manuel was to be honored by the fans for winning his 1,000th game earlier in the week. Although it would have been a minor ceremony to honor the manager, it would have been nice to give Manuel one last show of respect by the franchise and the fans. you can argue Manuel deserved to ride out the rest of the season, but he absolutely without question deserved to be honored one last time in front of the home fans by the organization that achieved one of the most successful stints in franchise history under his watch. To make the decision public after Manuel knowingly managed a couple of games knowing the fate on the road just hours before the first home game and planned ceremony was despicable.
Could the Phillies have not made the managerial change today, after the weekend series against the Dodgers? I cannot come up with an explanation that suggests making the move Friday afternoon was better than making it today.