BY HOMER PLATE, Contributor
As I think back to last year’s parade (funny, think parade in Philly and it’s usually Mummers, not championship) I began to play out how the 2008 playoffs and World Series were won. There are many things you can point a finger at, but one glaring thing always comes back to haunt me: Mr. Charlie Manuel.
Now, before we all get our trunks in a tizzy, I realize he is the first coach or manager to bring a title to Philly since what, 1891? Yes, he does deserve a pass for that. But we also have to remember that Phil Jackson won championship after championship on a team that arguably could have been managed by Helen Keller.
Here’s my thinking. Last year, the rotation was Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton. In the middle innings you had Romero and Madson and Lidge to close the door. This year, you could argue that the rotation of Lee, Hamels, Blanton and Happ is far superior to last year. So if you are so damn scared of not having middle relief, why not go with that? If they get you through six or seven you don’t need middle relief.
My point is, if you have a five story building on fire, you don’t sit there and spit at it, you just go with what got you there (hopefully a fire truck). My feeling is that Charlie tried to get way too creative with this Happ and Blanton junk out of the pen. He had a solid rotation all season and when he got to the big dance, he decided to get cute. I guess he saw the big, bad Yanks and panicked a bit. Like I tell investors, think of the stock market as porn, as much as you wanna watch it, you can’t. Charlie should have done the same thing, ignored the Yanks and just let his rotation work for him.
And the final thing that blew the cork off the bottle (or in this case put the celebratory cork back in) was the final game of the series. Fifteen pitches in and Pedro looked exactly like my sister. Okay, so my sister is not Latino, not a guy and she is 5-2 and 378 pounds but she sure looked like Pedro that night with his school zone fast ball.
Loyalty is fine to a degree. But when you leave during a windup to grab a snack and return to see the swing it’s obvious the guy has a problem. Pedro should have been yanked like a West Virginia molar in the 2nd inning.
Hindsight is always 20-20, but in this case I think we need to remember what we saw and hope that 2008 wasn’t just a huge streak of pitching and big Chuck wasn’t a one year wonder.