The Philadelphia Phillies, their front office, the human beings there, can’t possibly be this small. They don’t make small this small.
They do, however, make pettiness this small. And vindictiveness. That’s pretty small. Bullies are often large, but their minds are small. So are their consciences.
The Phillies can’t be all that. Just can’t be.
So why would the Phillies? Neither general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. nor scouting director Marti Wolever has commented. So we conclude the Phillies were unhappy with their draftees for turning down fifth- and sixth-round bonus money and returning to their schools. And how they expressed their unhappiness was to “participate” (or initiate) in an NCAA investigation that could severely damage the baseball careers of two young men.
The broader issue, of course, is that the agents or advisors may have let these young men down, as has the NCAA, and MLB, and major league teams, and the players’ union. The broader issue is the system is not only illogical, but harmful. Still, it was the Phillies who reportedly violated the code, who sold out the players, who soiled the very system that stocks their business, all in the name of what? Sending a message to the next kid who might change his mind? Spite? Revenge?
If so, they should be ashamed of themselves. That’s on them, and they probably don’t care. They made a couple kids squirm, made them suffer and, well, maybe that was their point. More, and if nothing else the Phillies did remind us of this, the system requires change.
Brown argues that while the Phillies are at fault, we should also blame a ludicrous system for putting these undue pressures on college kids (agreed). But that doesn’t absolve the Phillies from acting like, well:
Amaro was asked whether the complaint had been cleared with him.
“I was aware,” he said. “That’s all I can say.
“To me, it’s really not appropriate to talk about the ruling or the decision and that’s something that’s policy for us anyway,” he added. “We don’t talk about negotiations or things like that and I don’t think it’s appropriate in this case either.”