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An interview with Charlie Manuel

An interview with Charlie Manuel

A lot of us after the game didn't have a chance last night to try to get your impressions of what you thought of the conditions in the field and the conditions at the time, can you kind of take us through how you felt about it, when it went down there in the sixth inning?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically what I saw was I was down in the room with after the top of the sixth, like when we met with the Commissioner and the umpires, and everybody was in there, the GM's, the managers of each team. And I came up and I watched the interview with the Commissioner on TV and Pat Gillick and I totally agreed with what they said. I feel like at that time I felt like there was no sense in me coming down there and answering questions. There was some things like that went on through the game, like with the pitcher and things like that, part of the game. I was upset with some of the things that went on.

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But I definitely was agreed with everything that happened, and I also agreed that the game definitely had to be stopped. The conditions were definitely unplayable.
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Leaving the ballpark last night a lot of the players seemed very upset with the way things went down. Joe Maddon was on earlier saying that they're in Wilmington today, a team bonding thing. Are you worried with how the players, their ability to put this behind them and focus when they come back tomorrow night and play?

CHARLIE MANUEL: You've been around us now for about four years I've been here, we come to the ballpark tomorrow we're concentrating on winning, winning the ballgame. That's all that's important to us, that's all we think about. And we've got three and a half innings of baseball, we get to bat four times, they get to bat three. We get twelve out and they get nine. Like we are definitely coming with the mindset that we will win that game and that's all we want to be focused on. And I feel like that our team will feel the same way. I'll go around tomorrow and talk to all of our players and get a feel for what they're playing, and we'll get eye to eye and make sure that we're ready to go.

I don't think there's going to be any problem at all. I think we've been resilient now for the last couple of years. I think we know exactly where we're going and what we want to do. We're going to be ready.

Are you going to push at all for a travel day to be inserted if you go back to Tampa? At the same time possibly have Cole ready to come back for a Game 7, if necessary, on regular rest?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, basically right now I know nothing about pushing for a day off. But once we play really, I don't know a whole lot about that. We don't need to talk about Hamels' situation yet because we're looking forward to playing tomorrow. And I've been doing that well all year long, you guys know that. And I figure that we've got time to take care of all those things.

When the game was suspended right after Tampa had tied it, I wonder two things: One, the field conditions in your opinion, when did they get to the point that the game should have been stopped, might that have been in the fourth inning when you still had a 2 1 lead? And the second part is sixth inning on a decent field, do you think Jimmy Rollins fields B.J. Upton's ground ball?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think that there actually comes a time when there definitely had to be able to stop it, and you have to remember that I'm a manager and things like that, so I can voice an opinion like that, but there are a lot of opinions, and I'm sure everybody is trying to do the right thing. I think they could have stopped the field when it started showing water on it and at different times. They chose to stop it when they did. And the conditions were definitely unbearable to play.

Jimmy Rollins more than likely with a dry field, he would get to the ball. He makes that play quite a bit. But that said, the people in charge, I felt like they did what they had to do. They had to make decisions and I go along with that. But it doesn't mean that some of the things happened in the game that I had to like?

What specifically didn't you like?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I don't like to talk about those things, because some of it was just the way I felt some of the things that happened, like we left a lot of guys on base, it wasn't like we couldn't score more runs, too. You know what I mean?

On an earlier call with Joe Maddon he made it clear that they thought it was an advantage that Hamels is now out of the game. Their pitcher was already gone. You were into their bullpen, you had the best pitcher in the postseason this year on the mound, now he's out. Do you think you had the advantage and now that the suspension took that away?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think where Hamels was in the game, the fact that he had 70 pitches, 75, I think it was 75, when the inning started he had 60, mid 60s I felt like he definitely was on course to go like at least seven innings, more like eight. He was our best pitcher and we were going to try to get the most out of him, of course.

But I think the way it sets up right now is, we've got a good bullpen, and like I just got through saying, answering the other question, I feel like that we've got twelve outs and they have nine coming. And I feel like we feel like we're strong, and we can win and we're going to be ready to play the game.

Actually to answer your question correctly, I did feel that I liked Hamels being out there.

You're probably the first manager in history to have two days to figure out who the pinch hitter is going to be for your pitcher. Do you know who it's going to be? And if you don't who are the possibilities and how will you decide that?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Well, I'll decide that when basically Balfour, if he's on the mound, it will more likely be a left handed hitter, I've got three sitting there, I've got Jenkins, Dobbs and Stairs. And more than likely it will be one of those. If there's a lefty warming up, that might have something to do it. Like we'll see how the game develops, what goes on.

Do you think there's any chance of any double switch possibilities?

CHARLIE MANUEL: No, not really. But it depends on what they do.

There's a lot of confusion last night about whether the game was going to go nine innings regardless of the score, when it was stopped and who knew that. Were you guys aware before the game that there was going to be nine no matter what happened?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, we agreed on starting the game because the weather report was it was going to be a very light drizzle, similar to what was already going on. And it wasn't what was supposed to be rain, like a heavy rain or kind of a we call it a consistent rain. It was supposed to be just real light, and like that was a good chance that we definitely could get the whole game in. And I think everybody in the room, myself included, we understood what was going on and we also knew that when the game started that, it was going to be a nine inning game, yeah.

There's a lot of talk around town about how that you guys had to play defense and the pitching at the top of the sixth when the weather was at its worst, what do you think about that? And also if you could give me an idea, I can't think that it was all that easy for the hitters. What's your thinking about weather like that?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I'll answer the last part first. When I was a hitter I didn't like to hit in the rain. I didn't like to hit when the wind was blowing in my face. It was tough. But at the same time when I think of how the game is played and everything last night, it's hard for my pitcher to grip the ball in the sixth inning, it was hard if he tried to throw a fastball and he definitely didn't have good command, so, therefore, he couldn't put a lot into it or put enough on it to throw 88 to 92 miles an hour or something. But with his change up, the ball was slick, it was wet, damp, and he was having a hard time getting a feel for it. I think it definitely comes into play.

And I think also with the conditions on the field it definitely played a part in Rollins not making the play at shortstop. I felt like when Upton went down to second base and the water was mud and water was coming up on his shoes, if you go back and look at it, you definitely can see all that, that tells you the condition the field's in, and that's not good for us to be out there.

Did the weather deteriorate that much between the end of the fifth and the middle of the sixth? Would you have preferred ending it at the end of the fifth?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Well, you know, like there again, everybody's got an opinion. And from a manager's standpoint I'm biased, I guess, because I want the best for my team. But at the same time two teams are playing and there's a lot of people that make decisions that are going to come into play. I wasn't the one to make the decision, and I'm sure Joe Maddon feels the same way, that you've got to cooperate and kind of go along with things that happened. Definitely the conditions of the field was where they had to stop the game.

(Inaudible ) did you say to someone, hey, we have to stop this game?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I didn't say nothing to nobody.

Given what the conditions were after four and a half, and you held the lead, and the baseball rules always said the game can end. Do you feel at all cheated that by the book the Phillies had a win or could have had a win?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I feel like that what the Commissioner said about the game, like I was in that room, and from the weather report we all agreed that the game that we should play the game. So we knew that the game was going to be nine innings, so that kind of took that point away. Like I knew if the game had to be stopped, it didn't matter what inning or something like that, that we definitely were going to be a suspended game, and we were going to pick it up from that point. That's kind of how I looked at it.

Regarding the question of playing nine innings, it seemed to be generally understood by the people in charge, but the fans didn't understand it. Had the tarp come out with you still ahead, do you think your fans would have understood that the game had to go to nine innings or would there have been a bad reaction at that point and maybe crowd control problem?

CHARLIE MANUEL: You know, I don't really know. You know what I think, I think what the rule, was it 4.20(6), I think that some of the fans would definitely kind of relate back to that rule, probably. But from what was said in the meeting and the way that it was set up, they did what they said they was going to do. So that's kind of how I look at it. But I can see where the fans might be a little upset or something. But I think we were in a good position to still win the game. And like it's a tie game and like I said before, they get nine outs and we get twelve to score runs or get the lead and keep it.

So I look at it we come tomorrow, we'll play the game, we're coming to win and we're going to stay focused on that.

How was Hamels? Was Hamels there when he tried to bunt?

CHARLIE MANUEL: He kind of stubbed his finger. But I don't think that was a problem gripping the ball and stuff. I think he did have problems getting a feel because of the dampness on his hands, and the dampness on the ball. I think it was picking up moisture and he was having a hard time wanting to cut loose with his fastball. And also if you go back and notice, he was throwing a lot of change ups, and he was having a hard time getting his change up. Basically because he wanted to make sure he kept the ball down is what he said. And I kind of go along with what he said.

How comforting is it, having gone through all that last night, to still be up 3 1?

CHARLIE MANUEL: All year long we've been in a situation where we can control our destiny. And it's no different. It's up to us to stay focused and definitely stay focused on tomorrow's game, to win that game. And if something happens and if we don't get the job done or something, I have no complaints at all, because it's in our hands, it's all up to us to do it.

Were you at all nervous about just having Hamels pitching on a wet mound?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I was concerned about him pitching on a wet mound because with the rain, the moisture and everything in the air, the rain was coming down you could see all the water standing on the field, and the fact that he was having trouble gripping the ball, you could tell. And I was definitely concerned about that. I was concerned about him being able to throw strikes, and of course execute. And actually I felt like he did pretty good.

As far as you know, did he come through okay physically?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, he's fine. He's fine, yeah. He was fine after the game.

Will Hamels be scheduled to throw between starts tomorrow, the normal schedule? And if that's the case, would you at all think about bringing him back for an inning or two? He's still in the game. You haven't pinch hit for him yet.

CHARLIE MANUEL: No, he's not coming back pitching in this game. There's no way. I can tell you that. But at the same time in the future we haven't discussed things we're going to do. We're totally focused on what we're going to do on tomorrow's game. We'll talk about some of the things what we want to do, but at the same time like we're not even talking about it right now, like, ahead. I want to stay focused on tomorrow's game.

Strange times here. Were your players aware, Charlie, of the nine inning edict, that this game was going to be played to completion? Maddon talked about he didn't talk to his players. Did your players know? And going forward, then, do you make it a bullpen game? You talked about the shoot out nature, you have twelve outs and they have nine. Does it become in your mind a battle of the bullpens going forward?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Okay, to answer your question, no, I did not tell our players. And at the same time definitely our players were thinking about going nine innings and when the rain started they were still thinking about going nine innings. And I think before the game tomorrow it definitely looks like for us it's going to be a bullpen game.

Two things, the end there, Victorino's catch, how tough was that catch in considering the conditions? And also do you consider using the starters perhaps Myers or Moyer tomorrow instead of maybe Madson?

CHARLIE MANUEL: You know, Victorino's catch was raining and the wind blowing like it was, it was very difficult to catch it. The ball was hit over his head, and he made a good catch. It was actually probably more difficult than it looked. And he made a good play on the ball.

As far as using a starter tomorrow, I don't think so, at all.

Why not? What's your thinking there?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Because I look at it, the way we've got it set up, I have faith in our bullpen. And we've got three innings to go, and I think our bullpen can definitely do the job. I'm not looking ahead for the following game, but at the same time we've got to set up where our starters are in line.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
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