Another open letter to Andy MacPhail

February 09, 2008 | Drew Forrester

Before I get started, here’s what I KNOW about you, Andy MacPhail.  First, and this information comes directly from someone I met at the Super Bowl while working on radio row – a longtime media friend of yours…I KNOW you care what the media thinks.  I KNOW you’re a daily reader of the local newspaper, a daily internet surfer and, wisely, a guy who likes to know what people “out there” are thinking.  I also KNOW you’re a guy who doesn’t like loose lips in the office.  How do I KNOW that?  Ironically, I KNOW that because people in the know at The Warehouse have told me so — how’s that for funny?  You’ve told people to clam up and they have…but not before they told me they were being told to clam up.

Now, Andy, let’s get to the heart of the issue.

I fully understand you’re only following orders from above when you don’t return phone calls or the numerous e-mails I’ve sent you since you came on board with the Mid Atlantics last June.  I get that.  I’m glad MY boss doesn’t hand out silly edicts like that – forcing me to abide by viperish company policies by NOT talking to certain people – but I completely understand you are treading lightly over there when it comes to putting your foot down.

Anyway, Andy, as you’ve read on, I’ve been in your corner since you arrived on the scene.  It’s felt odd at times – but my gut told me you were what the team needed – and when you don’t return my inquiries, I have to admit that I wonder…”why the hell do I support this guy?”…but I think you’re the man who might be able to get this train wreck back on track.  So, I keep on supporting your efforts.

I know you’re busy trying to rebuild the team.  I know that takes up a lot of your time.  I know you probably don’t have time to worry about the fans.  I know you need more hours in the day.

When you took over the GM role, you said something very interesting in your opening press conference phone-call with the media.  You said (and I still have this in my computer file):  “The fans are the boss.”

You said that, Andy.

Well, are they?

Do you believe that?  Or, was that just a throw away line you used on the day of your hiring to get in good with people like me who were born and raised here and now report on the club’s daily doings?

If you believe that — that the fans are, indeed, the boss — when are you going to start handling a few critical issues that are hampering the club’s ability to connect with the fans in Baltimore?

When are YOU, as the guy in charge, going to get the word “BALTIMORE” placed on the team’s away jerseys?  The guy who owns the team took that word OFF the club’s official logo in 1995.  He’s had 14 years (since buying the club) to put “BALTIMORE” back on the front of the away jersey — but it hasn’t been done.

As someone that evidently ties his own shoes, when are YOU, Andy, going to appear on WNST, WBAL, WCBM, etc. and field questions from the show hosts who talk to hundreds of thousands of people EVERY DAY?  Are you that connected to the club’s silly Communications policies that you won’t challenge them on this asinine directive that club personnel will ONLY discuss team business with their “partners”?  You worked in Chicago — a TRUE big league city.  How would a restrictive policy like that have gone over in the Windy City?  Right…it wouldn’t have.

I know it’s not always pleasant to answer tough questions, particularly when you weren’t part of the program that fouled things up in the first place.  I realize you might not have all the answers, but shouldn’t SOMEONE in the organization make themselves available to answer stuff like:  “Why am I still paying $2.15 per-month for MASN when your team’s payroll is actually going DOWN?  After all, MASN’s birth was supposedly tied-in directly with the club’s desire to INCREASE payroll to be able to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox.  That’s what we were told.  So, I’m paying $2.15 per-month to help YOUR boss (who already has a billion dollars, but I digress) put a competitive team on the field, yet, this year, the club’s payroll is going down from $87 million to something like $70 million.  That’s not quite fair, is it?  Consider that one of the tough questions you’d have to answer, Andy. 

We aren’t allowed to ask that question of you, though.  Actually, we’re not allowed to ask that question of anyone at The Warehouse.  Sorry to be blunt here, but that’s bush-league.  You wonder why I sometimes refer to the organization as “charlatans”?  There’s Exhibit A.

In short, Andy, as you just did in the last two months by trading away Tejada and Bedard, when are you going to tell the ballclub that YOU are going to do things differently as it relates to the team’s off-the-field issues?

Sure, when you took over last June, the team already had these silly policies in place involving the road jerseys and not talking to certain media outlets.

Well, when you arrived last June, the club was also losing games and going nowhere fast.  You evidently weren’t OK with that.

Are you OK with these policies that were in place when you arrived?  I doubt that you are. 

If you think the best way to run your club’s PR efforts is to have Roch Kubatko, CBS Radio and MASN eating lunch at The Warehouse’s employee cafeteria, that’s fine.  As long as they’re all getting complimentary soup and salad and a few “leaks” here and there, you’ll have yourselves a nice little trifecta of information distributors.

You know better, though.  You know that kind of exclusion wouldn’t work in Chicago. 

It’s not good for business.

Oddly, Andy, I think YOU are good for the team’s business. 

I just wonder how much of the team’s business you really want to change?

And, I wonder, how much of the team’s business will they allow you to change?

Lastly, Andy…are you ready for a belly-laugh?  Here goes:  I’m actually in your corner.  I’ve gone on the air at WNST and in blog form here at and lauded your efforts since you took over last June.  I’m on your side.  Archive it if you don’t believe me.  I’ve written a lot of glowing things about you.  I’m your friend.  But, you signed up for this task and it’s not going to be a walk in the park, as you’ve no doubt figured out by now.  I wish you all the success in the world, but I wonder if you really want to fix the franchise or if you just want to win baseball games?  

Hit ’em straight down in Florida.  If you want me to come down to Ft. Lauderdale for a few days and play golf with you and talk about the issues confronting the club, I’ll gladly ask for a few days off and show you how to hit a cut 7-iron into a back right flag if you’ll just answer some of those tough questions for me.