Now that the “Andy MacPhail era” is officially upon us, I thought I’d take the liberty to provide him with a “to-do” list of things that will hopefully re-store the Orioles to their glory of yester-year.
Note: These are questions, comments and suggestions I’d make to Andy personally – on the air – if the team’s COMMUNICATIONS Director (boy, what a conflict of terms that is), Greg Bader, would return my e-mails and phone messages. As expected, my request for an on-air interview with MacPhail was met with this………..hear that?…………right………………silence. Thanks again, Greg, for ALL of your professionalism and courtesy over the last few months. Have you been directed by your higher-ups to ignore me or is this how you deal with all of the media people in Baltimore who aren’t part of your quaint little members-only club, otherwise known as “right holders”?
So, Andy, it’s all come down to you. Others have tried before you, and they’ve all failed.
You see, I’ve heard you remark today that this time is going to be different. “I wouldn’t have accepted this position if I didn’t think I could make it work with Peter Angelos.” That’s what you said today. Guess what, Mac? Mike Flanagan said the same thing when HE was hired. So did the long-ago-departed Jim Beattie. Oops, so did Jim Duquette. They all were told the same thing – I assume – by Pete. “I’ll let you run the baseball operations…I’m not a guy who gets involved on a daily basis no matter what the critics say. Your job is to run my organization for me.” That’s Pete for you…promising that this time, he’ll leave you alone and not interfere with your daily duties. Try trading Brian Roberts or Miguel Tejada in a month, Andy. Then we’ll see who’s boss.
Anyway, for EVERYONE’S sake, I hope this time it’s different. No offense intended, but I doubt that you’re going to be any different than anyone else. It’ll go smoothly for a few months, maybe even for the remainder of the season. Come November, though, you’ll want to pull the trigger on a deal that will send Jay Gibbons and Nick Markakis to (insert team here) for (insert players here) and Pete will say to you – in confidence – “we really need to keep those guys in Baltimore…Jay has been a good company man and Nick, well, we drafted him, spent a lot of money on him and, well…I like the young man. Trade some other players.” You don’t know me, Andy, but I like to bet the occasional “chinese lunch” on things. I’ve got a Moo Goo Gai Pan and large Won Ton Soup that says within 12 months of today, Pete nixes some player personnel move that you propose.
But instead of dwelling on the negative, let me tell you what we need you to accomplish in your new role as the team’s baseball operations master. Some of this will strike you as odd, most likely, but you have to understand something from the outset of your tenure here in Baltimore.
This organization that you now work for is NOT truthful to the fans. There are certain people in The Warehouse who are good, quality people, but I’m not allowed to mention their names because they might get canned for “sleeping with the enemy” although I’ve never shared a blanket with either of them. You get the picture, right?
You’re signing on to manage a baseball franchise that has about 5,000 people that REALLY care what happens on a daily basis.
25 years ago, that number was 500,000 people.
10 years ago, that number was 200,000 people.
5 years ago, that number was 50,000 people.
In 2004, that number decreased to 20,000 people.
In 2005, that number went down to 15,000 people.
In 2006, there were 10,000 people who REALLY cared.
It’s now 2007…the number is 5,000.
Your job, Andy, is to make sure that number doesn’t DECREASE in 2008.
God bless you, bro. You have a helluva task ahead of you.
If you have Pete’s ear – as you indicate you do – your FIRST measure of business is to say to him tomorrow morning, “You know Pete, I was sending out a few letters to some friends in the baseball world and I noticed the word “BALTIMORE” isn’t on the logo or in the letterhead at all. Further, I was watching last night’s game from San Diego and I noticed our players are wearing jerseys with Orioles across the front instead of BALTIMORE…we need to change that, OK?”
Now, Andy, you’re going to get resistance on this one, because Pete and his group of experts over there think including the word BALTIMORE will turn people off…to which I say, “gee, if they were turned off any more they’d be abstinent.”
In addition, they have a convenient excuse for you when the subject of “BALTIMORE on the road jerseys” comes up. They’ll say to you, “Oh, we might as well table that discussion until next April because we already missed the deadline to change the road jerseys for 2008.”
That’s when you pipe in Andy, and say: “Guys, don’t worry about the deadline. I know everyone there is to know in the league offices and all I need to do is send the Compliance Director a few bottles of 2003 Cakebread Chardonnay and he’ll let us submit the paperwork late…deadlines-schmedlines…I’ll get the paperwork taken care of tomorrow.”
Pete and the rest of the people over there who have made it their personal quest to push Baltimore baseball fans to the side will argue this with you…but this is where we get to find out if you really ARE in control…or just another smart baseball guy who fell for a lawyer’s best “closing argument”. Tell them they’re foolish for not having “BALTIMORE” as part of their logo and on their team uniforms and let’s see if you’re still parking at The Warehouse the next day…or, like Sam Perlozzo, will you be doing your first ever live interview with WNST a day or two after your sudden dismissal?
It’s your job, Andy, and your job ONLY (since no one else has been able to talk any sense into them) to make sure they understand why it’s important to embrace the fans IN THE CITY in which you play your home games.
If you have ANY stones at all Andy – and if you’d like to prove you’re not in this to just collect a salary – you need to ask Greg Bader if you can appear on WNST Radio sometime in the near future in order to “reach the fans”.
You’ll hear this…from the “marketing experts” – like Bader…”well, Andy, we believe in honoring our rights holders here, so we don’t allow any club personnel to have access to any radio or TV stations in town except those who are part of our broadcast affiliates package.”
Once you stop laughing at how absolutely illogical that is, you’ll say this:
“Yeah, but WNST has more listeners than any of the other sports stations in town. Shouldn’t we be talking on their station to let the fans know what we’re up to these days?”
You’ll then be escorted into another meeting with Russell Smouse and Lou Angelos (remember them, they ate your peanuts on the Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago Tuesday morning) and they’ll remind you, firmly of course, that you work for the club and the club decides who you will talk to in the media and when you will talk to them.
At that point, you’ll wonder if you’re living in Cuba.
Rest easy, though…you’re not in Cuba. You’re at The Warehouse.
Welcome aboard, Andy.
Hope you enjoy the heat.
And please, take care of that “to do” list, OK?