I remember the first time I had to fire someone like it was yesterday. For those of you who've never experienced it, it sucks. Whether the person deserves it, stabbed you in the back, or was a valued employee being downsized, the idea of taking away someones livelihood is gut wrenching. Everyone reacts differently. I've had people throw things at me, I've had people hug me, I've had people thank me, hell, I've had a few tell me to go screw myself.
But I've fired more people than I care to remember, and I will say that one thing I have never done, is allowed someone to take the fall for my mistakes. Ever.
I've fought for people from time to time. Especially when I know in my heart that the reason they've "failed" is because I failed them.
I've been fired once in my life. And I was fired because I couldn't sit by and watch someone else take the blame for my mistake. I needed the job, I needed the money, but damn if I knew at the time that I didn't need the shadow of integrity following me around as I pretended to work a lie for the next six months. I wasn't raised that way. I have no problem saving my own ass. Just not at the expense of someone who saved it for me consistently for five years as I bungled my way around a job while I was clearly in over my head.
Watching Ruben Amaro get choked up the way he did today at the press conference said more to me about the state of this organization than anything else over the past five years. It said more to me about Ruben, who obviously disagreed in some form with this decision. You saw a man up on that stage today who knows that he put Charlie where he ended up. He knows he was a scapegoat. You saw it in his eyes and heard it in his tears as they paraded the dogs and ponies through the uncharacteristically pointed questions from the beats.
It said more to me about the ownership group, and what they really care about (saving face and a television deal, re-branding the franchise and turning around the ship) versus what they should care about (severe disconnect in the fan base, loyalty and dignity), as they watched silently from the back of the room. Not a peep, but a watchful eye on the proceedings. If you didn't think that ownership puts their hands in the cookie jar before today, and this situation doesn't change that opinion I don't know what will.
But it also said more to me about Charlie Manuel than I ever thought I could know. A man with class, and grace, and honesty, and above all else, integrity.
Integrity. At the end of the day that's what breeds loyalty. And in the end that is the single most important trait in a leader. Charlie's integrity was evident when he made no bones about not being a quitter. Say and think what you want about what he's done the past year or so, how he managed a bullpen, but Charlie Manuel was not the reason the Phillies sucked this season. His eyes told you that. They told you all you needed to know. It was evident when he said he didn't know if he wanted a figurehead post, and it was evident when he looked at Ruben Amaro.
He looked at Ruben and his eyes said "you big p*%$y."
Today I finally realized what I've been missing with Ruben Amaro and his tenure as a GM. Rubens tragic flaw isn't his inability to gauge low level cheap talent, or his penchant for trading young prospects, or his indecisiveness regarding high profile players to trade for and trade back and resign or trade and trade again, or his sheer smugness when it comes to grasping the future.
No. Ruben Amaro problem is that he lacks the basic tenant of leadership. He has no integrity. He isn't a real leader. He cares about his job more than he cares about doing his job right, and because of that he's scared to say no to his boss. It was self evident today.
There should be no sword to fall on.
A good leader doesn't have coffee for a week to talk to Charlie, skirting around the subject in the feeble hopes that the man will cave. You know why? Cause a good leader tells David Montgomery that Charlie didn't construct this team, he did, and if Charlie goes, so does he.
A good leader knows WHEN TO MAKE A STAND.
And when Montgomery comes back and tries to call his bluff he walks out and bluffs back. With Integrity. And he makes his line in the sand. And a good leader tells him that the decision comes in 42 days. Not now. But a good leader doesn't let his manager take the fall like this.
Especially when he knows its his fault, not his manager's.
Those tears today? Those weren't tears of sadness, or tears of pain.
That was guilt. He didn't want this, but he didn't fight for it.
Shame on you David Montgomery. and Shame on you Ruben.
And the saddest part of all is that this man doesn't seem to even realize that by giving in to this, by letting Charlie go NOW, and not in October, All the blame, all the articles, all the vitriol of the fan base will rain upon Ruben Amaro's head like frogs in an apocalypse for the rest of the season, into October, and the job he cares so much about will be gone.
Integrity has a way of sneaking back and biting you when you ignore it.
We talk a lot about Pat Gillick and what he would have done different than Ruben. With this I'm fairly certain I know exactly what Pat would have done.
Pat Gillick would have told the ownership group to go f&*k themselves.
so hey, David Montogomery, on behalf of Pat Gillick and the rest of the fans with integrity? Go F*&k yourself.