Balls, Sticks, & Stuff
The Leader in the Clubhouse
There is an expression often used at golf tournaments - "the leader in the clubhouse." Technically, the first player to finish can be called the leader in the clubhouse, but the expression is usually reserved until someone finishes with a score that could realistically be considered as good enough to win after the remaining players on the course have finished.

After just two candidates have been interviewed for the job of Manager of the 2005 Phillies, it is realistic to consider that Charlie Manuel will grab the title. Nearly all of the other candidtates lack the gravitas to manage a team that could sport t-shirts in spring training imprinted with "Now Could be the Last Time But Let's Try and Relax Anyway". Don Baylor, Buddy Bell, and Grady Little do not have a history of winning as managers (by the way, is it a coincidence that both Bell and Baylor have been managers at Coors Field, another stadium considered to be a launching pad? I hope not, because CBP is not Coors Lite). As was reinforced on Swing and a Miss, the Phillies organization can not afford to have the manager become the story yet again in 2005.

The only two managerial candidates (that we know about, according to, Ed Wade has requested permission to speak to someone on the playoff teams...Joe Maddon?) that have strong track records are Charlie Manuel and Jim Fregosi. Fregosi, however, does not make sense as a final choice because of his sometimes gruff demeanor. Behavior such as this could also make the manager the story, again, something the organization does not want to repeat in 2005.
By process of elimination, this leaves Manuel. Yes, he is Jim Thome's guy, but it goes further than that, because by reading between the lines, the Phillies were quite impressed by the presentation Manuel gave to begin the interview, complete with handouts, charts, and graphs ("as you can see here by looking at these two lines, a pitching staff's ERA is directly correlated to the number of mini-tantrums thrown by a team's manager" and "the research seems to show that Leo Mazzone has never been punched out by a relief pitcher, which is indicative of a good rapport with the staff"...sorry, I had a Scrubs-like daydream there). Manuel also seems to be under the impression that he would enjoy managing the Phillies. Enjoying your work and not trying to drink away the pain also seems to be a characteristic that would make Manuel a good fit.

Phans, we have a Leader In The Clubhouse (insert golf clap here).

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