July 14, 2006

Opinion piece: Bring in Lou Piniella as Phillies manager

I'm at for it. Now. PLEASE!

So why not Lou Piniella, and why not now?

No one should question Sweet Lou’s credentials as a manager. Despite managing the dreadfully underfunded Devil Rays for three years, he’s won 99 more games than he’s lost in 19 years as a manager with the Yankees, Reds, Mariners and Rays. He got the 1990 Reds to the World Series, where as huge underdogs, they beat Tony LaRussa and the A’s.

He knows baseball inside and out, is passionate about winning and demands that players execute the fundamentals and give everything they have on the field.

The Phillies, on the other hand, have underachieved as badly under [Charlie] Manuel, a players’ manager, as they did under Larry Bowa, a dugout tyrant. Their play is sloppy, their situational hitting abysmal, their esprit de corps all but crushed.

Piniella has his faults. He doesn’t always get along with his pitchers and even got into a clubhouse fight with reliever Rob Dibble once. He’s got a temper, too, and has ripped his teams publicly from time to time.

But this is a team that needs a kick in the backside. The things that Piniella is criticized for are the things the Phillies need. They need passion. They need commitment. They need to pay attention to detail. They need to learn the concept of situational hitting. They need to play the game hard and play it well. Those are the things Piniella insists on, and woe be to him who doesn’t get on board.

A-frickin'-men, especially that last paragraph. I still actually watch the Phils, if not now to just mock their lackadaisical attitude and play. Bobby Abreu jogging for fly balls and missing. Pat Burrell running in on a pop fly and it goes over his head. Numerous players constantly swinging at first pitches, especially Jimmy Rollins, the lead-off man (a position he shouldn't be in). Poor base running. Sloppy fielding. Pathetic pitching. And disastrous managing.

The really frustrating thing for Phils fans is that they could have had Jim Leland (now skipper of the Detroit Tigers, and who has masterminded a miraculous turnaround of that club) as their manager a year and half ago. Inexplicably, Phils management went with the incredibly inept Manuel, who can't put three words together to make a complete sentence, let alone manage a big league ball club.

Actually, it's not really inexplicable. Leland probably insisted on having total control in order to improve the team. Then-lousy GM Ed Wade couldn't have that! Better to hire the useless Manuel, who wouldn't be a "boat-rocker."

Meanwhile, Philadelphia fans anxiously await football season, and the baseball season is barely more than half over ...

Posted by Hube at July 14, 2006 05:00 PM | TrackBack

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Meanwhile, Philadelphia fans anxiously await football season, and the baseball season is barely more than half over ...

Welcome to Pittsburgh's world. Except it doesn't even take half a season most of the time. ;)

Posted by: dan at July 14, 2006 05:22 PM

Solution: become a cardinals fan and root for a real team that gets and keeps a quality manager, has a great GM and gets new players via free agency and has a great farm system that replaces good players every year! We weathered the storm of being without Albert for a month and are coming out of all star break 4 games up while only getting average to terrible pitching while being on a five game win streak...and we got rid of Ponson who was abisimal as of late...and did I mention that Rolen is batting .315 for a real team that wears red!

Posted by: cardinals fan at July 15, 2006 12:53 PM

Yeah, but can you really brag about continually winning a division where your opponents are a team who makes a giant trade for middle reliveres while giving up the best players involved (Reds), a team whose owner seems to want them to lose (Pirates), a team who can't ever play well in the first half of the season(Astros), a team run by the Seligs (Brewers), and the Cubs ('nuff said)?

The Cardinals are a man among little girls in that division.

They cause me great pain, but I'll stick with the Phils. They're my team for better or worse, and it's usually worse. Much worse.

Posted by: Paul Smith Jr at July 15, 2006 01:28 PM

What they need more than a new manager is a new owner. However, that's not quite as easy to pull off. Can I borrow some dough?

Posted by: The Unabrewer at July 17, 2006 03:23 AM

it wasn't inexplicable why they went with Manuel. He was Thome's best buddy....it is pretty well known and was at the time that they "interviewed" Leland after the local writers and radio stations had pounded them for not even bothering to contact Leland.

A real shame to do this to the fans. I'm just surprised people still go....i haven't in years.

Posted by: donviti at July 17, 2006 01:31 PM