In case you missed it, here's a part of my story on the Phillies team meeting Friday. You can read the rest here.
TORONTO - The visitors' clubhouse at the Rogers Centre is small, with minimal floor space between the rows of lockers that line each wall. After Friday night's game, manager Charlie Manuel stood on the carpet in the middle of the room, according to several Phillies players. He spoke passionately, but did not shout. The players sat in folding chairs in front of their lockers, most looking at Manuel and listening.
The manager had not held a team meeting since the beginning of spring training. In March, Manuel told his players to remember how they became World Series champions - by focusing only on the moment, avoiding distractions, and functioning as a cohesive unit.
He rarely addresses the group as a whole, believing that words have more power when carefully chosen. He resisted the growing urge to express his frustration until Friday night. Before that night's game, Manuel said that berating professional athletes rarely achieves the desired result. He admitted that he still was looking for the right strategy to address the Phillies' poor play as the team lost 11 of 13 games. They hadn't just been losing. They also were playing sloppy defense, carelessly wasting at-bats, running the bases mindlessly, and pitching ineffectively.