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Charlie Manuel: ‘I’m 75 years old and nothing bothers me anymore’


Charlie Manuel has taken over as the Phillies hitting coach. (Steven King/Icon Sportswire)

Tuesday morning, the Philadelphia Phillies announced that they had fired hitting coach John Mallee and were replacing him with Charlie Manuel, the winningest manager in franchise history. While general manager Matt Klentak and manager Gabe Kapler spoke about the move yesterday afternoon, Manuel didn’t arrive at Citizens Bank Park until Wednesday afternoon, at which point he met with the assembled media in the Phillies dugout.

Here are the highlights of the Wall of Famer’s session with the media:

How Excited Is He?

  • “I’m excited about it,” Manuel told the collective media, including Bill Matz of SportsRadio 94 WIP. “I think it’s a challenge, I like that. I’ve never been scared of nothing like that, especially when it comes to hitting.”

Was Returning To The Staff An Easy Decision?

  • Manuel said Tuesday that the decision to return to the dugout for the first time in six years wasn’t an automatic yes. “When Matt first called me, I took a good time and thought about it. I thought that it boiled down to the fact that I work for the Phillies and I definitely felt like I should take the position that’s one of my strong suits.”
  • Manuel did go on to say that the talent on the team helped him to make his decision.

What Issues Does He Believe The Phillies Offense Has?

  • “What you see is we are inconsistent, that’s for sure,” Manuel said. “At the same time, though, we’ve just got to get back to enjoying the game and [improving our] situational hitting.”
  • Manuel also alluded to the idea of a looser environment where hitting is fun again, and there’s open dialogue between him and the hitters.

Does He Think It Will Be Weird Working In the Same Dugout as Gabe Kapler Given His Success As Manager?

  • This was the line of the press conference: “I think I’m 75 years old and nothing bothers me anymore.”

Does He Have Interest In Managing Again?

  • While Manuel had hoped to continue his managerial career when the Phillies fired him in August of 2013, he says that he’s past that stage of his life: “I’m not interested in managing – I’ll make that clear right now. I’m not interested in managing at all. Someone would really have to beg for me to change my mind.”
  • Manuel did go onto joke that while he doesn’t want to manage again, he thinks he’s capable of getting hitters to put the ball on a tee.

If All Goes Well, Would He Like To Return As Hitting Coach In 2020?

  • At yesterday afternoon’s press conference, Klentak didn’t altogether rule out Manuel being more than an interim hitting coach, but seemed to suggest that would almost certainly be the case. Charlie seemed to strike a similar tone Wednesday afternoon: “Right now I would definitely say I’m just thinking about getting to the end of the season. I’m not looking for what’s down the road – believe me, I’m not looking for something to do next year or whatever.”

What Does He Think About Exit Velocity And Launch Angle?

  • “I think I’ve never had any trouble communicating with the players,” Manuel said when asked about analytics and what verbiage he will use when talking to players. “I know what a launch angle is, I know what my version of a launch angle is. To me, a launch angle is where I make contact with the ball when it leaves the bat. Everybody has a different way of saying things and presenting things, I’m a basic guy, I’m a conventional style teacher.”
  • He did say that while he’s big on working the count, that doesn’t always mean taking a walk. It may mean that, but it may also mean that if you get a fastball to hit on a 2-0 count, you pounce on it.

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