(Image Credit BleacherReport.com)
A brief timeline to help one understand the unique promotion of Pete Mackanin to the position as Manager of the Philadelphia Phillies:
2012 season – Pete was among three of Charlie Manuel’s aides fired after Philadelphia’s final regular-season game. He was serving as Manuel’s bench coach at the time, having just concluded his fourth season in that role.
2013 season – Pete served as a scout for the New York Yankees. (He was a scout for them in 2008 also before joining the Phillies a year later)
2014 season – Pete served as a third-base coach for newly-hired Phillies Manager Ryne Sandberg.
Middle of 2015 season – Pete is promoted from third-base coach to serve as Interim Manager after Sandberg’s “resignation.” Shortly thereafter baseball front-office lifer Andy MacPhail becomes the team’s President. It is logically, widely assumed Pete is gone at season’s end since he has no prior connection to MacPhail.
Today – Pete Mackanin is the Manager of the Philadelphia Phillies…Interim detached. He served as an Interim Manager at two other locales in his career…but never as THE Manager.
He is 64 years young and attending his 48th Spring Training. The “book” on Pete is he is a master communicator with his players…he also communicates in Spanish.
He was obviously successful communicating to MacPhail he was (still) the man for the job.
Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently relayed a quote by bench coach Larry Bowa about Mackanin’s performance last season as Interim Manager:
“He let guys know that he played and he understands how hard the game can be. Here’s an example: Cesar (Hernandez) missed first base and was called out, and when he came back to the dugout Pete looks at him and says in Spanish, ‘Hey Cesar, that’s what the bags are there for.’”
The “book” on Pete also reads he believes the game should be played “properly” and has a laser-like focus for rooting out and repairing weaknesses.
That should come in handy fairly quickly in 2016.
Many expect the Phillies to lose 100 games with relative ease. They have talent but it is woefully young and needs time to develop both in the bigs and the minors. Baseball America recently rated Philadelphia as having one of the ten best farm systems in baseball right now. That’s something.
But it is only potential, not reality.
One bit of reality…based on Pete’s recent history with this organization you can’t count him out towards still being around (in some capacity) when (hopefully) things turn around.
And so it begins…not just (again) for Pete but for all who love baseball.
Spring Training is here.
For Pete’s sake…“Play Ball!”