NEW YORK -- Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel is thrilled to be back in the dugout. But if the entire truth must be told, he's really happy that he's no longer on a plane or at the airport.
Manuel said Friday that he had to undergo quite an odyssey to rejoin his team after the All-Star break. His flight, originating in Orlando, Fla., was supposed to leave at 4:20 p.m. ET on Thursday afternoon, but due to various delays and travel vagaries, he didn't arrive in New York until after midnight.
"My break was fine until I flew in here," he said. "I got to the airport at 2 o'clock, and they changed it to 5:30. Then, they changed it to 7:40. Then we got on the plane and we sat there for over an hour. We finally left and then we landed here and sat [on the runway] for over an hour and 30 minutes.
"Then we finally got a gate and we taxied in. I went and tried to get a cab, and they were just getting off work and changing shifts at 11 o'clock. There were about 40 or 50 people standing on line and I'm last. I got to the hotel at about quarter after 12 last night and I was cussing every one of you guys and everybody on the team. Then I took a shower, laid down and woke up this morning at quarter to 9."
The Phillies went into the All-Star break with a .500 record, and they've been one of the best second-half teams in baseball over the last few years. Philadelphia has gone 269-198 after the break since 2007, the best mark in the Majors, but Manuel doesn't want to take anything for granted.
"My benchmark is win tonight," he said. "If you want to try to get somewhere, you'd have to win I'd say 90-92 games, but sometimes 85-90 wins can get you somewhere, too. We've got to win some games. We've got 66 games to go. We've got to win a high percentage of those games."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.