The announcement could have waited until after the last game of the season, but the Philadelphia Phillies have decided to remove the “interim manager” tag from Ryne Sandberg and make him a permanent one; a press conference will be held before Sunday’s final home game against the visiting New York Mets.
Whatever the timing, it looks like a very good move, as Sandberg, the 52nd manager in Phillies’ franchise history, talked about accepting the job at a press conference at Citizens Bank Park.
Phillies fans have to wonder what took the organization so long. The team looked and played like a totally different group under Sandberg, who forged an 18-16 record after replacing 69-year-old Charlie Manuel on Aug. 16.
The Phillies still have problems going forward, but there was an energy in the dugout that did not exist with Manuel. The team has to address its problems scoring runs in the offseason, as they rank 25th in baseball in runs scored.
Although they have been first or second in quality starts all season, the bullpen is another area of concern, as the team is ranked No. 26 in team ERA. That problem lies entirely with the bullpen, particularly the back end, which was gutted when eighth-inning specialist Mike Adams was lost for the season with an injury in early June, and left-handed specialist Antonio Bastardo was caught up in the MLB bio-genesis scandal and suspended for the remainder of the season.
Before being named the Phils’ third-base coach at the beginning of this season, Sandberg spent six seasons managing in the minor leagues. In 2011, he was named the International League’s Manager of the Year for his handling of the Phillies’ top farm team, the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.
In the middle of August, pitcher Roy Halladay created somewhat of a mini-controversy when he said Sandberg “addressed things that needed to be addressed.”