In defense of Andy MacPhail

May 12, 2010 | Drew Forrester

I saw the video.

And the first thing I thought, about 30 seconds into it, was “what a shame…what a disgraceful thing to do to a guy who has been in the game of baseball for almost three decades.”

Making Andy MacPhail sit at his desk and send out an explanation video is no way to treat the guy.

There’s no chance – no way possible – that was HIS idea.  Andy’s not afraid to speak with the media…he’s just not allowed to, that’s all.  But you can bet he would have much rather have used his time to sit with anyone (and everyone) in the Baltimore press corps than to sit there at his desk twiddling his pen and looking down at a notepad to read some of the bullet points given to him by the powers-that-be.

I feel bad for MacPhail today.

I’m not going to hold him any less accountable for bringing in the likes of Garrett Atkins and Mike Gonzalez when he could have done better last winter.  He’s still the architect of this team – this group of players who have started the campaign 9-24.

But I feel bad for him, knowing he was forced to clean off his desk, comb his hair, and go through a 2:45 video message that did nothing more than give the PR department the chance to breathe easier and say to themselves, “There…we spoke to the fans”.

Ironically, the people who SHOULD be doing the explaining are the wizards in The Warehouse who have shut down the scalp-free zone, introduced a day-of-game-ticket-price-surcharge and, yesterday, forced Brian Matusz to ride around on a fire engine like he was a dog in the 4th of July parade instead of having him try to sell tickets by visiting the local radio and TV stations.

That’s the video we all SHOULD be seeing.  An explanation from the folks in charge about how they’ve made some mistakes this year by mistreating the ticket buying (or, in most cases, the NON-ticket buying) patrons.

Instead, they forced the GM to sit there with that deer-in-the-headlights-look and tell us all what we know anyway.  Their bullpen got off to a horrible start, the situational hitting and run producing at-bats have been atrocious and when you’re a bad team, everyone you play is better and, therefore, your schedule is difficult.  We’re all smart enough to know WHY the team stinks.  We’d much rather know what you’re going to do to fix the team.

It’s so uncanny it’s almost not believable:  They’ve become experts at doing precisely the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Instead of having MacPhail sit down with the press and allow for a professional, open question and answer session — where folks in town might GAIN respect for the club instead of LOSE it — they send people to their web-site to listen to an explanation on how this has all gone so wrong so quickly.

Dave Trembley?  Off the hook.

Adam Jones?  Off the hook.

Garrett Atkins?  Off the hook.

David Hernandez?  Off the hook.

Terry Crowley?  Off the hook.

Rick Krantiz?  Off the hook.

Nolan Reimold?  Off the hook.

And so on and so on.

The only person deemed worthy of speaking for the club?  Andy MacPhail.  And even then, the Orioles had to control the message.  Imagine how Andy felt when he saw that e-mail in his inbox today.  “Andy:  Set aside a few minutes around 12 noon to shoot a quick video for the fans.  We’re going to explain the start of the season to them and we’d like you to handle it for us.”

And so, with no other option, MacPhail faced the camera and looked about as comfortable as Ron Burgandy (the REAL one, not the one in our city).

For a minute, I thought Andy was going to don a Nike hat and a red golf shirt and start talking about how his “transgressions” had hurt everyone and he was hoping after therapy to gain everyone’s trust again.

The Orioles made their GM sit in front of a camera and shoot an apology video.

All because they’re afraid to let him face the media.  I wonder if Brian Cashman or Theo Epstein would ever do that?

Andy…I feel bad for you today.

You didn’t deserve that.