Though conceeding Charlie Manuel’s recent spat with WIP’s Howard Eskin was good fodder for the latter (and presumably served a purpose for the former as well), The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Ford maintains the episode was a “mini-meltdown was little more than an unexpected lane change. It didn’t rise to the level of past confrontations, most of which took place in a far more private environment.this mini-meltdown was little more than an unexpected lane change. It didn’t rise to the level of past confrontations, most of which took place in a far more private environment.”
It certainly doesn’t compare with the day super-caffeinated shortstop Larry Bowa punched columnist Ray Kelly Jr. of the Courier-Post in the locker room. Or even the day tightly wound pitcher John Denny stalked a Cincinnati writer through the back corridors of the Vet for some perceived slight. Denny caught up with the writer – who wasn’t that popular, either – and there was some minor cuffing around in the tunnel behind home plate but not the double knockout everyone would have preferred.
Another more memorable exchange, one documented for eternity on recording tape, took place in the office of manager Dallas Green (above) during August of the strike-interrupted 1981 season. I was sitting there with a handful of writers when Jayson Stark of The Inquirer asked a joking question about the team’s struggles to play well after the layoff.
“F- you, Jayson. Ask the f-ing question right,” Green exploded, and then he was off and running, dragging the writers through a deep thicket of bleeps and bloops. At full volume, Green was impressive, and his long tirade easily carried into the clubhouse.
When it was over, Green got up and opened the side door that led to the coaches’ dressing room, his signal the session was over. We filed out and, as we did, one of the coaches – I remember it being Mike Ryan – stuck his head in and said quietly, “Who asked it?”
“Jayson,” Green said, and they both smiled. Which meant to me that the whole thing was planned. Green just needed a match for his fuse.
At the risk of echoing Eskin a little too much, perhaps Manuel would like to take a swing at the GM who thought Tom Gordon would suffice as Philly’s closer this season.