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'Kind of rejuvenated me': Phillies Manager Rob Thomson speaks to crowd in London, Ont.

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Rob Thomson was planning on hanging up his cleats after more than 35 years in professional baseball.

However, things changed drastically after Joe Girardi was fired as Philadelphia Phillies manager during the 2022 season, and Thomson was named as his replacement.

He then led the club to the World Series.

“I was just getting a little stale at that time,” explained Thomson. “I thought there were some younger people that can come in with a little more innovation and do some different things to make players better and get the information to them and better fashion, but yeah, this is kind of rejuvenated me and now I’m ready to go.”

On Tuesday, the 59-year-old told stories from his fairy tale season to the London Sports Association during their luncheon at the Victory Legion on Oakland Avenue, in London, Ont.

The crowd included a number of people he played against in the Inter-County Baseball League in the 1980s.

Phillies Manager Rob Thomson (left) speaks with John Ambrose about his time in the Inter-County Baseball League on Nov. 25, 2022. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

After signing a two-year extension to be the Phillies’ manager, he is now a very busy man.

“Before I got here I was in a Tim Hortons parking lot doing a zoom call with a potential free-agent bullpen pitcher we’d like to sign,” Thomson told the crowd.

He added, “When I’m done here, I’ve got a Zoom at two, and a Zoom at four. I drive to Toronto tonight, and fly to Atlanta tomorrow. I come home and I’m going to San Diego on Saturday, so there is a lot of moving parts here.”

He will not be staying in his hometown of Stratford, Ont. for very long, before heading back to Philadelphia for the remainder of the offseason.

“We're transitioning into another phase of our season,” Thomson told CTV News London. “So we're starting to talk to Major League free agents and trying to put our ball club together for next year. It's still a little bit busy and a lot of Zoom calls, a lot of text messages, a lot of travel, but that's good.”

He was instantly beloved and became a cult-figure in the City of Brotherly Love.

Rob Thomson signs a Philadelphia Phillies sweater on Nov. 29, 2022 (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

Now he will be spending the offseason with a different role. Instead of running spring training, Thomson will be spending more time planning and being with the players, rather than spending time doing a lot of the behind the scenes baseball-related game scheming.

“Our bench coach will do the actual daily schedules, but you know, we'll get together and talk about how we're going to plan it out and what the progression is going to be on an individual basis and also a team basis,” said Thomson.

He added, “It's a little bit different, spending a lot less time behind a computer screen looking at bunt plays and who steals, and who runs, who hit-and-runs, and all that type of thing.”

The last few months have been a whirlwind, but he has loved it.

“You could really see the momentum step up especially when the Blue Jays got knocked out and then all the Canadian media was on it,” Thomson recalled. “It was good story and but we didn't get it done, but next year, hopefully we'll get it done.” 

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