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The Honorable Charles Fuqua Manuel Jr.

Feb 9, 2009, 3:29 AM EDT

Charlie Manuel has created his own unique Philadelphia story. His ability to keep things light and players on his side, not to mention a world championship, transformed him from a country bumpkin who fans couldn't stand into a baseball legend in this oft-vicious town. And in a good way, not like Mitch Williams or Von Hayes.

Sunday's Inquirer caught up with the Phils manager down in his Florida home. The piece profiles the skipper and mentions his golf game has suffered due to all of the time he's spent in the playoffs in October and subsequent championship tour.

Charlie's also been busy making upgrades to his home including a barbecue area out back. He boasts that he's as successful cooking up ribs as he was slapping Japanese fastballs back in the day. Okay maybe he doesn't put it just like that, but hearing Charlie boast of his cooking skills puts a smile on my face.

Pretty much the perfect summer event I could ever dream up will now include a BBQ attended by Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard, and the rest of the 2008 WFC Phillies at which Charlie is manning the grill. A chubby white boy from Philly can dream.

Manuel's longtime companion, Missy Martin, says Philadelphia has been wonderful to Charlie, "Eating out around Philadelphia, walking the street, people come up and
just say, 'Thank you.' And the way they say it is so heartfelt. It
amazes us. It's so sincere. You can really tell how much it meant to

Indeed. I'm sure it couldn't hurt one more time for good measure. Thanks, Charlie.

Let's hope that golf game doesn't find time to improve any time soon.

Spring is near.

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