Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr had an interesting statement to make during an interview with writer Jim Salisbury.
"They don't understand the game," said Amaro in regards to critical fans. "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."
So now the people in charge of the Philadelphia Phillies as an organization have been handed a public relations disaster by Amaro, the very same man who oversaw the utter collapse of what just four years ago was a team that had the best record in baseball, the best in franchise history, en route to its 5th consecutive division crown.
We've chronicled the slow, steady decline of the Phillies ever since Amaro took over as the GM from Pat Gillick following the 2008 World Series victory:
2009 - lost World Series
2010 - lost NLCS
2011 - lost NLDS
2012 - missed playoffs with a .500 season
2013 - losing season, first in 11 years
2014 - last place season
There is no way for anyone other than the very most apologetic analyst to chronicle that as anything other than exactly the way that I have characterized it here: a slow, steady decline.
But it goes deeper than that, and back a little further than that. While Gillick himself was putting the final pieces together that would ultimately win that 2008 World Series, he was also making egregious decisions regarding the team's future.
The results: nothing. Nothing at all to help the Phillies organization restock, reload, and keep firing on winning cylinders into the 2nd decade of this century.
Gillick rightly gets partial credit for that 2008 World Series for taking the homegrown core of players brought in by the previous regime of Ed Wade, and finding the right supporting pieces to put it over the top.
But he is clearly not a builder, and apparently cannot see, or simply and stubbornly refuses to act, on Amaro's own ineptitude.
These men cannot ride the 2008 laurels any longer. There are incredibly important decisions that have to be made regarding the rest of the rebuilding process, both in further trades that need to be made and in talent that needs to be acquired through the draft and by other amateur signing methods.
Ultimately, and hopefully not before long, possibly as soon as next off-season, the Phillies will need to begin spending money again to try to accelerate that rebuilding plan with the right free agent acquisitions.
These are decisions that should not be made by men who have either clearly proven themselves to be incapable (Amaro) or out of touch (Gillick) with the modern game of baseball.
Let me put it even more plainly, as a direct response to Amaro's above statement highlighted at the front of this article: yes, Ruben, many of us DO understand "the process", and what we "bitch and complain" about is not the lack of a plan, but that you and your boss Gillick have orchestrated and are carrying out your plan.
I have zero faith in Ruben Amaro as the General Manager, or in Pat Gillick as a hands-on decision maker, for the Philadelphia Phillies organization as it tries to get back up off the canvas on which they have laid it.
The time has come for someone to step in and put an end to this madness. Someone needs to have the courage to fire these two men if they refuse to step down willingly, and allow real, modern, talented baseball people to come in and rebuild this organization.