After what turned out to be an interesting eight-plus seasons as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, manager Charlie Manuel's time in charge has come to an end. The Phillies announced Friday that Ryne Sandberg will take over the reigns and would manage the final 42 games of the year in interim form.
Sandberg, who began his career in the early 1980's with the Phillies, spent most of his career with the Chicago Cubs. He has managed six seasons in Philadelphia's minor league sytem, and knows that the road ahead will not be a friendly one.
It's a little bittersweet moment for myself, under the circumstances. I got the honor and privilege to be hired this year by Charlie Manuel to be on his staff. A goal of mine seven years ago when I got into managing in the Minor Leauges with the Cubs was to get back to the Major League level. Charlie allowed that.
On the other side of the coin, as it will be for everybody -- the players, the other coaches -- it's also an opportunity. We have 42 games left. Being the interim manager, my main job will be to remind the players they are Major League players. they are getting paid pretty well.
They have a job to play out the 42 games because they are meaningful games for themselves, for their careers and for the future. There are a number of veteran players, and it's a time for them to step up and do their part in leading the young players as we play these games. Also, for the young players, to recognize this is also an opportunity for them.
Sandberg looks to turn around a team that has lost 19 of 23 games to fall out of contention for the postseason. Phillies General Manager Ruber Amaro Jr. said he'll be keeping an eye on how the player-turned-manager does during the final six weeks of the year. He did say there was a chance he may make Sandberg the permanent manager, although he may also interview other possible replacements.
The first night on the job didn't go so well for Sandberg, Philadelphia got blanked by the Dodgers 4-0 at home. He had served as the team's third base coach so far this season. He learned of his promotion on Thursday, although players were not informed until prior to Friday's game. With the loss, Sandberg and the Phillies can use the remaining 41 games on the schedule to rebuild and see if he can prove worthy enough to be named permanent manager.