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Incites | Four reasons why Manuel will stay

OK, class, listen up. Take notes if it suits you, but there won't be a quiz tomorrow. Because you probably know all the answers already.

OK, class, listen up.

Take notes if it suits you, but there won't be a quiz tomorrow. Because you probably know all the answers already.

But as a quick review for anyone who hasn't been paying attention, here are the four major reasons embattled Phillies manager Charlie Manuel won't be fired any time soon:

1. To remove the first target of the fans' venom would expose others to the withering fire.

2. No (repeat no) other manager could do any better with the current club.

3. The players still like him.

4. The fans' playoff expectations were ludicrous, and Charlie is not responsible for the town's silly exercise in wishful thinking.

Don't discount the power of the third reason, but the major factors keeping Charlie in the dugout are the first two.

Right now Charlie is still managing on Ed Wade's watch, and any perceived shortcomings can be deflected back on Wade.

But if Pat Gillick fires Manuel, then Gillick moves into the spotlight himself. And, perhaps, into the line of fire if disappointments continue.

The second reason is equally important, at least to the people who would pull the trigger. Given the minor-league bullpen and the stupefying lack of clutch hitting, no other manager could produce better results.

Oh, he could change the batting order. But with only three players who get on base regularly, the runs aren't gonna be plentiful. So hiring, say, Joe Girardi, then having him trickle home at 80-82, would make Girardi look equally inept and would satisfy no one. Why tarnish your chosen successor right out of the box?

The fans would like him better, because he wouldn't speak in the tangled syntax that is the overwhelming reason for Charlie's deep unpopularity. A new guy also wouldn't be Larry Bowa's replacement or the guy who was hired in place of Jim Leyland. He'd be popular because he replaced the most disliked Phillies manager since John Felske.

But he wouldn't have a better team, so the results wouldn't be any better. (And don't tell me about botched double switches when your "hitters" are only producing two runs a game and your bullpen coughs up more than a three-pack-a-day smoker.)

So right now, the Phillies are gonna hang with Charlie, hope for a revival by Ryan Howard, better health for the pitchers and some sort of trading deadline steal.

The time the front office might consider moving Charlie would be September. If the team is still struggling to reach .500 after Labor Day, next season's ticket sales will require a jump-start.

So Charlie, whose contract is up after the season anyway, will be ushered to the door a few weeks early so the new manager can be brought in to work the crowd.

PhilaTrivia. Which Phillies manager who managed at least three full seasons has the best winning percentage?

Atta guy! After eight years of appearing joined at the hip with coach Andy Reid, quarterback Donovan McNabb literally and figuratively took the snap himself.

His physical removal from the Eagles this week - in a news conference the front office discovered only when Ashley Fox of The Inquirer called to let them know - was the first day of Donovan McNabb's new life.

If he's in his final year as the Eagles' quarterback (which some very astute football people passionately believe), then he might as well go out on his own terms.

Acting as an independent power might not count for much in a fan base already preparing for the Kevin Kolb era, but it will count to the only constituency McNabb cares about: the clubhouse.


John Amaechi, the basketball player who recently told the world he is gay, had an interesting observation on the varied reactions he got.

The 36-year-old former player said that while he's heard from everyone he played with at Penn State, he has yet to hear from a single former NBA teammate since coming out in February.

"Probably 30 of my former [NBA] teammates have my e-mail and my telephone contacts. And zero - nobody - who's active in the NBA has been in touch with me since the day I came out, despite the fact that most of them knew I was gay in the first place," Amaechi said last week at the Log Cabin Republicans' annual convention in Denver.

Trivia answer. Pat Moran, who had a .556 percentage from 1915 through 1918. Dallas Green (.565) and Steve O'Neill (.565) did not manage three full seasons. Larry Bowa's winning percentage in four seasons was .522. Charlie Manuel's winning percentage in his first two seasons was .534.