CATZ CORNER: Cold November Reign

Of course it is - Drew Hallowell

A dystopian rant on shaping the most important season in a decade for the Phillies

November 2014

Interior, Elevator. Ruben Amaro, looking visibly shaken, breathes deeply, he presses the number thirteen. Immediately, the elevator zooms DOWNWARD.

Silence. Kenny Loggins "Whenever I call you friend" plays in the background. three minutes later, the elevator stops. the door bings. Opens. Ruben steps out directly into a dark, yet semi lit room. It seems to go on forever. he stops at a certain point. A small light shines over him. He sees nothing else.

One voice, coming from many mouths, from all directions. Peaceful, yet deep, and frightening. as if Hal and Darth Vader had a sick twisted love child, speaks.

THE ONE: WELCOME RUBEN AMARO

RUBEN: I uh, I brought some notes, and a few thoughts I wrote down somewhere...

THE ONE: WE SHALL ASK AND YOU SHALL ANSWER.

RUBEN: Uh, okay um, who's here this time?

THE ONE: WE ARE ALL, YET ONE, AND SEPARATE, BUT TOGETHER.

RUBEN: Okay, um it's little hot in here..

THE ONE: REVENUE IS DOWN RUBEN AND I ARE DISAPPOINTED.

RUBEN: We've made some changes so...

THE ONE: WE HAVE SEEN THE END OF THE MANUEL. WE HAVE GIVEN YOU THE TOOLS TO SUCCEED. IT FALLS ON YOU NOW RUBEN AMARO. TELL US YOUR PLAN.

RUBEN: Well, it starts with building from within,  I think we need to up the budget just a little and if you just let me go after a few...

THE ONE: NO LONG TERM CONTRACTS RUBEN AMARO. WE HAVE TOLD YOU THIS. WE WILL NOT COMMIT TO THE DEATH OF THE FRANCHISE AND THE BUDGET IS NOT LIMITLESS. THAT IS FINAL. THE BUDGET IS WHAT IT WAS, WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT WILL BE. YOU MAY WORK INSIDE THOSE CONFINES RUBEN AMARO.

Ruben: okay, but I can't exploit market inefficiencies without...

THE ONE: YOU TOO ARE A MARKET INEFFICIENCY! YOU HAVE ONE LAST CHANCE. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

Ruben: I do.

THE ONE: BAY DOOR THREE OPEN

a door opens, and young intern walks through… He looks around, unsure.

THE ONE: WE HAVE A GIFT FOR YOU. THIS IS SCOTT FREEDMAN. HE WILL BE YOUR ANALYTICS DEPARTMENT AND YOU WILL USE HIM. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

Ruben: I do.

THE ONE: LEAVE US.

end

So maybe that's a little dystopian. But to fully understand this idiocy with the NCAA you have to go back to November, and you have to think like Ruben Amaro, not like a fan. Not like a reporter. If you truly want to understand why the Phillies would do this? Why they would risk their reputation, all that crap?

It's pretty simple.

THEIR REPUTATION IS ALREADY SHIT. They are literally the laughing stock and whipping boy of major league baseball in the media circles. Be it national or local, whatever. It's cool to make fun of the Phillies. That's what people do. So how's their reputation mean crap when they don't have one?

In November, when this happened, three months after the fact? This team looked like a laughing stock, had come off its worse season in decades, and the general manager knew he couldn't go after anyone looking for more than a short term deal. He'd known that for two years actually, and he'd also made a conscious decision that while he had high draft picks he was not giving them up for QO picks.

Basically, he knew (and still knows) that he's got one chance. One last chance. and he's wearing handcuffs as he does it, and he's got to pray that not only does he make all the right moves, but that all the moves he made that have already bitten him in the ass suddenly turn around.

Good luck with that.

And oh yeah, if it DOESN'T work out, and they do have to sell off assets? Not only does he have to restock his farm system with close to ready talent, he has to make sure he has an effective draft with the highest positions he's had in over a decade.

And last year that system failed him where it mattered, in the middle rounds when they got burned, where he drafted specifically to sign to slot with hits to fill two GAPING HOLES at the higher point in the organization (OF and SP).

Shane Watson and Adam Morgan both looked like busts due to injury at that point.

You can't afford to miss next year. Or you don't have a job. And neither can your staff, cause they go bye bye too.

And you believe that you send a message to all involved that if you make a deal, you keep it.

And desperate men do desperate things.

You think that guy gives a F$#K about the NCAA or some kid missing two starts for Oregon State? Nope.

And welcome to the 2014 Phillies front office.

A team that will be run by a group of individuals that are in many ways more concerned about short term job security than long term health of the organization. That's not opinion, that's fact.

And it doesn't mean that they are purposefully making harmful decisions. It means that they make decisions subconsciously based on fear, and job security, and sometimes that results in stupid shit like the NCAA crap, PR wise, and they don't really care about your opinion or mine right now. They could give two shits about public perception and doing or saying the right thing. All they care about PR wise is making it die, and making a few calls to a few agents and fixing the minimal backlash behind the scenes.

They need to win, and they need to have the most successful draft in the history of the team this year, and honestly, if you see how they draft to slot, and how they got burned you can almost connect the dots and realize that reporting this kid likely helps them assure that doesn't happen again more than it hurts them in a totally shitty kind of way.

And I hate that that's the philosophy that runs this team right now.

None of this changes the fact that I strongly believe that Ruben did a splendid job with what he had this off season. None of it changes my personal opinion that with the right shakes this team can contend.

But make no mistake. I mean this from the bottom of my heart.

The public perception of this organization, the fan opinion, the media take, will not change until two things happens.

1. This team wins again.

2. Ruben Amaro is no longer in charge.

There is a chance that if somehow number one happens and they make a deep run into the post season, that the perception could shift without number two, but I doubt it.

That's the reality people.

Ruben Amaro does not care what the internet says, what the media thinks, what the public thinks and what the fans have to say, because they've been saying nothing but shit for three years anyway. He doesn't care.  He's trying to save his job, and he's trying to win now, and he knows exactly what he's doing and he's still smarter about it that you are whether you're dumb enough to admit it or not. He is. End of story.

He's a smug arrogant ass who operates in a backwards boys club world and is 100% not the right guy to lead the organization into the 21st century.  But he's more qualified to do it than most and thats truth.

Doesn't make it right. Just makes it what it is.

Last week I said that I would change my tune if I could find out a few things different in regards to the WETZLER STUFF.

I've made enough inquiries, and read enough and such to 100% believe this came from the Phillies, and Ruben and Marty didn't stop it.

But don't expect an apology from them, don't expect it to affect much, and don't harp on it anymore. AN APOLOGY IS AN ADMISSION OF GUILT AND AN ADMISSION YOU MADE A MISTAKE AND DID SOMETHING WRONG.

THEY WANT THIS TO DIE.

Ask yourself why, look deep at the reality here, and realize that the real ride begins in a few weeks.

But don't fool yourself into believing there's one answer here. Or one opinion. I'm probably half wrong and half right. Just allow yourself to take a little of both sides and find the truth in the middle.

And here's the real truth:

The single most important season in recent franchise history is about to begin. What this team does in the first three months of the season defines the next decade. Hang on, strap in, and lets go.

CATZ OUT

PS: I take a lot of shit from a lot of people for being too positive or defending Ruben Amaro and here's the reality guys. I don't believe there's one universal opinion to anything. I believe Ruben Amaro can be an idiot and still qualified to do his job and can make good moves while having made a lot of bad ones. That's how life works. But when he does idiotic things I call him out.

And as for the positive stuff? Well there's enough negative to go around as far as I'm concerned so yeah. I tend to try and be the voice of reason in a sea of sewage a lot. If you don't like it, don't read it. I'll keep doing it though, cause I believe its necessary. And I won't apologize for it, or get offended if you don't agree with me and I'll often change my tune if you make a case that doesn't involve being a prick about it.

Peace said. Go Phils.

CATZ REALLY OUT

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