In March I wrote a spoof called Premonition The Movie. It was a prediction on what will happen when the Phillies come north from spring training in the ' 07 season with no bullpen. I got pretty close to reality. Not that I'm Madame Rue the fortune teller, but it didn't take a genius to look at the Phillies bullpen in spring training and see disaster..
The bullpen was horrific. Brett Myers, the opening day pitcher, was moved to closer because Tom Gordon went DL. Then the injuries mounted. Not just normal injuries that all teams suffer, but injuries to key players one after another, pretty much through the entire season. Without a competent rotation and bullpen, Charlie Manuel kept the Phillies afloat all the way to September 30.
He not only kept them afloat, he managed them to the Eastern Division crown. Sure the Mets helped, but Manuel kept the Phillies playing solid baseball down the stretch, clearly establishing the team as 'the team to beat.' He has the respect of his players, which is no easy task considering that most of them make a lot more money than he does. Moreover, with the Philadelphia media taking shots at him everyday, questioning his intelligence and questioning his mannerisms, his players played hard. Charlie Manuel deserved the new two year contract the team awarded him on Tuesday. Congratulations Charlie, and thank you for a great season.
Now...here is what I wrote on March 18:
Out in theaters near you starting April 2...staring Pat Gillick, Charlie Manuel, Harry the K, Wheels, and Sondra Bull-mitt.
Harry the K: "Uh oh this ball is trouble...deep in the gap in left center going all the way to the wall, it skips off the wall and is headed toward Burrell, Lee scores, Floyd is coming around to score, Cedeno will score...Rowand after the ball AND HERE COMES SORIANO HE'S FLYING...Rowand can't pick it up and Soriano is going to score standing up on an inside the park, grand slam home run and Wheels, the Phillies bullben has given up the lead AGAIN here in the ninth and now trail the Cubs 8-6...
Wheels: "Harry this is unbelievable and it doesn't seem to matter who the Phillies bring in after the sixth or seventh inning they can't hold a lead...now Jimmy is coming out to get Geary and it looks like the lefthander Matt Smith is gonna come in..."
Hear heavy voice in background: This is the 7th game in which the Phillies bullpen has surrendered the lead after the fifth inning.
Harry the K: "Here we are in mid-May and it's the seventh game the bullpen has given up and Wheels it doesn't look like there is any end in sight and the Phillies are really struggling...it doesn't matter if they are home at Citizen's Bank Park or on the road."
Wheels: "That's right Harry first it cost Charlie Manuel his job and...uh oh here come the boos as Geary leaves and it's loud right now, most of the fans are standing between first and third and booing Geary as he leaves the game...
"It cost Charlie Manuel his job and the Phillies, after so much was expected of them this season are mired in last place in the NL East simply because their bullpen can't hold a lead..."
Harry the K: "The boos are loud aren't they...the fans are really getting on Geary..."
Wheels: "Yea there goes Geary he flips his glove in disgust and it lands on top of the dugout and the fans are now standing and booing him for that, boy that's frustration...but Harry the Phillies ought to know better than this you can't leave spring training with a bullpen ERA of 6.44 the worst in the major leagues...then Gordon goes down in the second week of April and he's lost for the season..and they are scrambling to find consistency out there and it's not working..."
Sarge: "Not only are the players frustrated but the fans are frustrated as well. It's gonna be a long season with no closer or set up men. It's too bad because the Phillies can hit the ball well but if they can't get anyone out then yea it's frustrating."
What I wrote on March 18 was a premonition, but by May it was close to reality. Of course, Charlie didn't lose his job, and without him the Phillies would not have been in contention in late September.
Skipper. You deserve the new deal. Now for the bad news: Charlie, we've got to get you on a nutrition and exercise program so when you come out to get Geary in ' 08, you look more like Arnold than Humpty Dumpty.
How about it?
To my sister...thanks for the book, I love it.