Ron Costello

Monday, April 16, 2018

Philly fans gave Charlie a rough time.

Philly being Philly; it is what it is.

Managers and coaches come and go, but sometimes not without a whipping. They are the most scrutinized in the city — more than the mayor, more than city council, and more than the, ugh, school board.

Joe Kuharich came from Notre Dame, at the time the only losing coach in Notre Dame's history, finishing 17-23 at his alma mater. He came to Philly in 1964. Four years later, with the worse record in the NFL, the Faithful had seen enough. Kuharich couldn't even lose correctly: the Eagles won the last two games of the season and missed out on drafting O.J. Simpson. They went 2-12-0, and the Juice went to the Bills.

During that final season, some 60-plus fans wore "Joe Must Go" buttons and an airplane flew over Franklin Field pulling a banner: Joe Must Go.

Charlie Manuel was ostracized for the way he spoke. Lots of his sentences ended with, "Dontcha know." Plus, the Faithful hated him from the get-go because the popular Pittsburgh manager Jim Leyland was left at the altar. Leyland was a no-nonsense manager and a winner, but the organization went with a "country bumpkin."

Even yours truly, in this blog, imitated the way Charlie spoke. Shortly after that, I received an email from Phillies broadcaster, Chris Wheeler, who said: "Ron you don't know Charlie, you're being unfair." Wheels, the good man that he is, was right. I apologized.

So the Faithful greeted Charlie Manuel the only way it knew: "Boooooooooooooooo."

Now, Charlie Manuel gets a standing ovation any time he visits and sticks his head out of the dugout. And they chant, "CHAR-LEE, CHAR-LEE, CHAR-LEE..."

Philly being Philly.

From the start, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was criticized for not being "brainy enough" to be an NFL head coach. How, of which half the Eagles crowd is rowdy and drunk by halftime, the hooligans could come to that conclusion, is beyond me.

They were cranky to begin with. Chip Kelly, the brainy Oregon coach, ran the team into the ground. Then the Eagles hire a 'stupo' to replace him? Pederson was seen, too — as Charlie Manuel was Jim Thome's lackey — as Andy Reid's lackey.

Longtime NFL executive Mike Lombardi said, "Everybody knows Pederson isn't a head coach. He's less qualified than anyone I've seen in my 30-plus years in the NFL.

That's all they needed. "Boooooooooooo."

We attended the Phillies home opener on April 5th, where Doug Pederson threw the ceremonial first pitch. During introductions, Phillies new manager, Gabe Kapler, was booed. Pederson received a standing ovation as he walked out to the mound.

It is what it is; Philly being Philly.

Speaking of Kapler, it's bandwagon time. Everybody wants on. First, it began with the coconut oil question at Kapler's introductory press conference, by local radio and television jockey Howard Eskin. The question was embarrassing and out of order, two areas of which Eskin prides himself on.

During the first six games of the season, all on the road, Kapler made some apparent coaching blunders. That's all the Faithful needed on opening day; they were waiting for him to pop out of the dugout.


But suddenly something's happened. Gabe Kapler's team is winning. Six in a row, sweeping the lowly Rays and moving up into second place in the NL East, behind the Mets. The benchings and analytics don't seem that important now.

If the Phillies keep winning, Gabe Kapler may get the keys to the city, instead of a boot out of town.

That being, of course, Philly being Philly.

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