November 03, 2004

Our vote for manager: Carl Pavano

It would take a miracle, but unless the Phillies get better horses, a new skipper and new approach may be futile to reverse the fortunes of this veteran team.

Like ice cream, should the Phillies manager be hard or soft?

For several reasons, that’s the worst opening graph in history.

Boston won the World Series, so now it’s time to find deeper meaning, which means less time for quality openings and transitions …

…transitions like the one happening with manager. What does a manager mean to the success of a team? Knowing that Terry Francona was the manager who broke the curse with the Boston Red Sox breaks every notion that you can’t win with a players’ manager.

And it can’t just be as simple having better players, can it? Boston came back from 3-0 in the ALCS and won 8 straight. And what about Florida last year, who won with a manager who was considered too old?

A blood and guts guy like Jim Leyland, candidate #8, would give the Phightins a respected leader with a great baseball mind. The only question is whether his return is based on a newfound passion for the game or the proximity to Pittsburgh and the prospect of a job that may not require much work. The Mets believed it was the latter and passed.

Todd “The Big Z!” Zolecki reported the frontrunner is now, and may have always been, Charlie Manuel, who has been courted by no one else but the Phillies. Like a high school kid who graduated but still hangs around with the cool kids in band, Manuel kind of hung around last year, I guess it was in some kind of advisory capacity, but it seemed like he slid right to the top of the list when the inevitable firing happened at the end of the season. He’s a favorite of Jim Thome but I’m leery about a GM who would pander to the wish of a player like that. It’s not what Donald Trump would do.

Then again, the Donald wouldn't have called Paul Abbott, either. No. The Donald would do the smart thing and find the biggest need (pitching) and fill it (Big Unit).

At manager, the most important job will be to, first, rid the team of failure, which is different than “winning.” It means preventing any more high-profile collapses (Burrell, Byrd). Then comes “winning,” which is what Bobby Cox and the Braves do, taking eggs (Jaret Wright) and making egg salad (15 wins, 3.28 ERA).


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