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Fans React To Charlie Manuel's Firing As Phillies Manager

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Charlie Manuel is replaced a few days after getting his 1,000 win as a manager. Charlie Manuel is replaced a few days after getting his 1,000 win as a manager.
Third base coach and former Phillies Ryne Sandberg takes over as interim manager. Third base coach and former Phillies Ryne Sandberg takes over as interim manager.
General Manager Ruben Amaro gets emotional as he speaks about Manuel's friendship. General Manager Ruben Amaro gets emotional as he speaks about Manuel's friendship.
PHILADELPHIA -

The Phillies confirmed a change at manager during a Friday afternoon news conference, replacing Charlie Manuel with third base coach Ryne Sandberg.

The team says Sandberg will be an interim manager for the rest of the season, and his first game will be at 7:05 p.m. against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The move caught most Phillies fans off-guard, as many expected changes at the end of the season with Manuel's contract up but thought the skipper had earned the right to finish out the year, FOX 29's Dave Kinchen reported Friday night from South Philadelphia.

The team initially called a 2:30 p.m. press conference, but the media alert did not disclose a topic or list who would be in attendance, leading to plenty of speculation.

There were several reports that Manuel was being replaced with Sandberg before the Phillies confirmed the story in a news release just before the press event. Sandberg's interim role was disclosed in a second release.

General Manager Ruben Amaro called Manuel clearly one of the most decorated in the franchise's history and choked back some tears as he described his friendship with him.

"You people may not know the relationship I've had with Charlie. He's a special person. This is difficult for me. I hope he stays in our organization," Amaro said, before turning over the microphone.

Manuel has been asked to stay involved with the team, but hasn't made a decision yet on whether to do so.

Manuel said he loves everything about the fans and the city, adding, "I've had some of the greatest time of my life, and Philadelphia has been the highlight of my career."

Later he joked, "I'm mad because they took the best seat in the house away from me."

Asked what his final message to fans would be, Manuel said, "Keep coming, watching the game, loving the game, and support the Phillies."

"Because I think the Phillies are going to get back to where we were a couple years ago. Actually, I think our fans will definitely stay behind us," Manuel said. "... As long as we put guys on the field who can play, and I feel like we're definitely close to where we want to go, I think that's the message I would send to them -- keep being who you are and love baseball and the game."

The 69-year-old has the most wins in team history with 780, compared to 636 losses, and led the team to five straight playoff appearances, winning a World Championship in 2008 and a National League pennant the next year.

Prior to being named Phillies manager for the 2005 season, Manuel spent two years working as a special assistant to then-General Manager Ed Wade, and before that he managed the Cleveland Indians.

"Uncle Charlie," as he was known to fans, won his 1,000th game as a manager Monday night, becoming the 59th manager to do so.

A pre-game ceremony scheduled for Friday night to mark his 1,000 wins has been postponed until a later date.

Sandberg, 53, is a former Phillie, previously managed in the minors, and he was the team's third-base coach this season. He was also a 2005 inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Phillies say Juan Samuel will assume third base coaching duties, and Wally Joyner will become the first base coach.

The team has lost 19 of 24 since the All-Star break, and they're in fourth place, 20.5 games out of first in the NL East.

FOX 29's Howard Eskin tweeted Friday afternoon that the Phils have actually played sub-.500 baseball for close to the last two seasons.

"Just like they do w players #Phillies usually do things a year too late," Howard tweeted. "Charlie manuel should not have been the MGR this season."

"So much for charlie manuel managing a few more years. Nice man but poor manager. It became embarrassing to watch #Phillies," Eskin tweeted, adding, " If #Phillies fans are honest w themselves they will realize Charlie manuel was never a good MGR, was a good guy. Team should have 2 WS not 1."

When Amaro said he made the decision a day-and-a-half or two days ago, and Manuel acknowledged that he managed his last game knowing about the move, Eskin asked on Twitter why they would wait until the day of a game rather than announce the move on an off day.

"In the end I feel sorry for C Manuel," Eskin tweeted. "For anyone that gets fired. The #Phillies ownership and management should be blamed 4 allowing this."

Stay with FOX 29 News and MyFOXPhilly.com for more on this breaking news story.

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