It was a long Tuesday for Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro.
Earlier in the day, he stepped in it again. Speaking to CSNPhilly's Jim Salisbury about the illogical cry by many fans for the team rush top prospects like Aaron Nola, J.P. Crawford and Zach Eflin to the Majors, Amaro frustratingly voiced his thoughts on the matter.
He probably shouldn't have.
"I think we’re going to be conservative," he said.
That often does not sit well with fans who want to see the Phillies be aggressive with their prospects.
"They don’t understand the game," Amaro said. "They don’t understand the process. There’s a process. And then they bitch and complain because we don’t have a plan. There’s a plan in place and we’re sticking with the plan. We can’t do what’s best for the fan. We have to do what’s best for the organization so the fan can reap the benefit of it later on. That’s the truth."
The quotes blew up in his face, as Justin Klugh wrote about earlier. They were so bad, they were even brilliantly put to song by our David Cohen. And even though his main point was correct, that we don't know enough to say whether a prospect should be brought up, and that the Phillies are correct in not rushing prospects up to the Majors, it got lost in what sounded like a moment of frustration that was shared with Salisbury.
The quotes made it seem like Amaro was mad at the fanbase. And for a fanbase that was already mad at Amaro for the team's current situation, rightly or wrongly, it was galling to them.
It seemed clear as the day went on that Amaro would need to address this with an apology. Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News shared it with the people.
"The first thing I wanted to say about the comments I made is, one, I'd like to apologize to the fans. I'm a fan myself. I understand the passion and the knowledge that our fans have for our game and the other major sports, all the other sports in Philly. The comments weren't meant to disparage our fans by any stretch of the imagination. I probably used my words incorrectly or poorly. I want to apologize for that.
"When (I was asked) about our club and the organization and some of the things that we're doing with some of our young players, listen, I'm as excited about seeing these guys, the (Aaron) Nolas, the (Zach) Eflins, the (Roman) Quinns, and some of the other players who are having a lot of success right now and many of them. I'm as excited about seeing them in the big leagues as anybody else. But there's a process they have to go through. There's a process and a plan in place. And I think that was more of the point."
"We have the most passionate fans, and I think that's the beauty of Philadelphia," he said. "I would never intentionally disparage our fans - that's not how I go about my business, that's not what I feel is in the best interest of the organization. We're fan-driven. This is an entertainment business, and we need the support of our fans, and we've gotten tremendous support. I apologize for the context or the words that I used."
Amaro also said he talked with team president Pat Gillick about the comments.
"I talked to Pat about it," Amaro said. "We had a discussion about it, and he said it was unfortunate and thought it was taken out of context where if you take the quote out of (the CSNPhilly.com) story. If you look at the breadth of the story ... our job is to make sure the fans love this club for a long time, and we have to do what we can to put the team in a position for the fans to enjoy it. Sadly, that point gets lost because of my quote."
So, here we are. And at the end of the day, Amaro angered a sensitive fanbase that was already angry with him.
Will this apology be enough? Will this damage control be successful? Or were his initial comments the final straw that will hasten his departure?
I am not comfortable calling for someone to lose their job. I just don't feel like it's my place to do so. And while I wouldn't call myself an Amaro "defender," I do think he has done a good job the last two years as the team's GM, and I remain curious how many of his past mistakes were by his own doing or were forced upon him.
It's important to remember that nothing Amaro has done or said was done in a vacuum. He has bosses, and I believe some of the mistakes made by the team over the last few years were the result of an organizational failure, from the top down.
The team is behind the times. They are still slow to integrate an analytics department as a major part of what they do. They are still slow to incorporate the blogosphere into their inner circle, unlike the Eagles, Sixers and Flyers. Their Twitter feed is no better than a glorified "bot." Before the last two years, they had not drafted well. Trades they made largely didn't work out. And they waited too long to start the rebuild.
But given all that, there are these items that are all on Amaro. He is in the last year of his contract. He continuously puts his foot in his mouth and says something unwise. And he has no good will left with Phils fans.
Maybe this will all fade away and Amaro will continue to be the man leading this rebuild. But it's also possible his statements this morning, as true as they were, were bungled so badly that it could force him out of town.
It's possible this apology may just not have been enough.
But there is one thing that is certain. Ruben Amaro had a very bad day.