Charlie Manuel is back in Philadelphia this weekend for alumni weekend, as the Phillies will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their 2008 World Series title. But during alumni weekend, the Phillies will host the Miami Marlins for a four-game set, hoping to extend their lead in the National League East, as they vie to make the playoffs for the first time since the Manuel-led 2011 club.
Though he’s now viewed as an icon in Philadelphia, Manuel was a polarizing figure early in his time at the helm of the Phillies. The club’s current manager, Gabe Kapler, is polarizing for entirely different reasons, but polarizing nonetheless. And Charlie thinks he’s doing a good job leading the 2018 Phillies.
Manuel joined Jon Marks and Ike Reese on SportsRadio 94 WIP Wednesday and praised Kapler’s ability as a communicator:
“I think he’s [Kapler] been good – I think he’s been very good. He’s a good communicator…I saw that in Spring Training…they do like playing for him. When you think about it, where they are at right now, I thought at the All-Star Break if they were at .500, that would give them a good chance to make a run in the second-half. And they were ahead of that, and I think they have 55 games left and I think they’re going to be right in there and it’s going to be good baseball for the next 55 days because I think they are definitely capable of staying there and holding their own and winning this division.”
The Phillies, after a rather disastrous five-game start to their season, will enter this weekend’s series with the Marlins at 59-48. A year ago, they were 39-64 entering August. During the aforementioned 2008 season, the Phillies entered August with a 59-49 record. Something Kapler is doing is working.
In fact, numerous members of the organization have praised Kapler’s ability to communicate. Pat Neshek told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he had an extended conversation with Kapler about confusion in the clubhouse after the team’s 1-4 start, something most other managers wouldn’t have done. In the same story, Carlos Santana, who spent the past five seasons playing for Terry Francona, called Kapler “a guy you want to win for.” Bench coach Rob Thomson, who spent the last decade on Joe Girardi’s staff in New York, called Kapler “a guy that you want to come to work for.”
Some have criticized the uber-positivity that Kapler shows after games, almost regardless of the result of said game. He responded to that portion of his communication skills Thursday morning when speaking to Angelo Cataldi on the SportsRadio 94 WIP morning show:
“I know that you and I know that are fans are very passionate,” Kapler told Cataldi. “Part of the passion extends to wanting to be privy to everything that happens, including discipline. Unfortunately, that’s just not the way people work best. I think you’ll understand this. If you want to raise the bar for one of your colleagues from the station, you’re not gonna do it at a client dinner. And if you need to talk to your kids about disappointing report cards, you’re not gonna wait for the neighborhood block party to do so.”
Despite whatever critics he may have, it appears that Kapler has made a believer out of the winningest manager in Phillies history.
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