For somebody who was just fired, Charlie Manuel couldn’t have shown more class. Manuel was complimentary in his final press conference, praising the Phillies organization, including Ruben Amaro Jr, who gave him the pink slip.
And in leaving with class and likely biting his tongue, Manuel was setting himself up for another potential job.
Some are already linking Manuel to the Washington Nationals job that will open after the season. Davey Johnson announced before the year that this would be his final season in Washington.
By not burning his bridges, Manuel was showing other organizations he is truly a team player.
He thanked the Phillies organization for giving him the chance and staying with him for nearly nine full seasons.
“I can’t explain to you what the last nine years has meant to me,” he said. “I’ve had some of the greatest times in my life, Philadelphia has been the highlight of my career.”
He then continued with more praise.
“I love everything about the fans, I love the city,” he said. “I love to talk Phillies baseball wherever I go.”
This certainly doesn’t sound like a bitter man.
Yet Manuel was clearly hurt and like any successful person, has deep pride in what he does and in what he has accomplished.
One thing that Manuel did want to make clear is that this wasn’t his choice to leave with 42 games remaining.
“I didn’t resign and I did not quit,” he said. “Let me tell you something, I’ve never quit nothing.”
No doubt there are people who witnessed his farewell, even those who may not be fans, who had to be impressed by the class he showed in a most difficult time.
And other teams will likely take notice.
Manuel turns 70 in January and his age won’t help him, but if teams look beyond that and see how well he connected with young players, that will be a plus. For instance, teams will see how a five-time all-star such as Chase Utley, revered him.
This was clearly a down day for Manuel, who wore his emotions on his sleeve, talking about how difficult it will be to wake up and not have the chance to go to the ball park.
Manuel is a lifer and he feels he still has life left as a manager.
“I think I can manage a couple more years, maybe two-three years,” he said.
And for any prospective future employer, Manuel had nothing but praise for his former team, even while losing his job. If his career record (1000-826) isn’t enough to impress future suitors, his classy exit could be another reason that this may have not been Manuel’s final managerial press conference.