Randy Miller, who’s a real opportunist, had an interesting interpretation of Ruben Amaro’s comments at his impromptu media scrum yesterday.
Amaro, who inexplicably still has a job, spoke to reporters about the soup du jour– the bullpen cluster-F that had Chase Utley shaking his damn head and arguing with dopey pitching coach Bob McClure.
Here’s how several respected beat writers and outlets interpreted Amaro’s comments (which, incredibly, don’t seem to exist on video in 2015):
The road trip went from bad to terribly bad in a 19-3 loss to Baltimore at Camden Yards on Tuesday night. The game included an embarrassing incident in which manager Ryne Sandberg and pitching coach Bob McClure could not get outfielder-turned-emergency-reliever Jeff Francoeur out of the game in the eighth inning because the bullpen phone was accidentally left off the hook. The incident included veteran Chase Utley giving an earful to McClure on the mound.
“It’s not our greatest moment, but it’s been addressed,” Amaro said of the embarrassing scene. “It’s a mishap that can happen, but never should happen again.”
More than that, however, has been the seemingly stupid stuff that’s taken place in public that shouldn’t at the major league level. Like having a bullpen phone off the hook while a position player is laboring through his second inning of work, like Francoeur was on Tuesday night.
“It’s not our greatest moment, but it’s been addressed,” Amaro said.
There’s also the public displays of meltdown that took place on the road trip by both Ken Giles (last Friday) and on Tuesday night when Chase Utley dressed down pitching coach Bob McClure on the mound for letting Francoeur hang out to dry.
“I think it was just frustration,” Amaro said. “When things aren’t going well and you’re losing and not having a lot of success . . . these are all competitive people. They’re human beings. I don’t think any of these guys want to lose. I don’t think anybody on the staff wants to lose. When you’re losing, you get frustrated and emotions get high. I don’t have any problem with guys having emotion. It just has to be directed in the right way.”
ESPN.com (reporter unknown):
Pitching coach Bob McClure ended up waving a white towel to get the bullpen’s attention. In the end, no one was called in to relieve Francoeur, who threw 48 pitches in two innings, prompting second baseman Chase Utley to bark at McClure during a mound visit.
Francoeur was out of the starting lineup Wednesday and grounded into a game-ending double play as a pinch hitter in the Phillies’ 6-4 loss to the Orioles.
“It’s a mishap that can happen, but can never happen again,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before Wednesday’s game.
One of the roughest moments of Tuesday’s 19-3 loss to the Orioles is the fact the Phillies could not call to the bullpen to get a pitcher warmed up because the bullpen phone literally was off the hook.
It was an embarrassing moment for the organization.
“It’s not our greatest moment, but it’s been addressed,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wednesday afternoon. “It’s a mishap that can happen, but it should never happen again. It’s as simple as that.”
So there are three versions of essentially the same quote– all of which imply that Amaro was talking about the entire event: outfielder being forced to pitch two innings, mound exchange, hilarious episode with pitching coach waving white towel because phone was off the hook in the bullpen.
But here’s how Miller interpreted that portion of the exchange. What’s different?
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was not happy hearing what Chase Utley did in the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s 19-3 massacre in Baltimore.
No one, not even a highly respected six-time All-Star such as Utley, ever should get away with chewing out a coach, especially during a game during a mound visit.
Utley doing that to pitching coach Bob McClure got him a talking to from his bosses Wednesday.
“Well, it’s not our greatest moment, but it’s been addressed,” Amaro said before a Phillies-Orioles rematch Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park. “It’s a mishap that can happen, but can never happen again,” It’s been discussed. Taken care of.”
Utley apparently was fuming because outfielder Jeff Francoeur was running up a pretty high pitch count working the final two innings of a very embarrassing loss that ended an 0-8 roadtrip, the Phillies’ worst since their inaugural season in 1883.
Francoeur was up to 46 pitches with two runs in and the basses [sic] loaded in the home eighth when McClure walked out to the mound to check on him.
That’s when Utley was seen waving his arm and saying his peace to McClure with an a disgusted look on his face.
That’s weird. Miller went with the more attention-grabbing, sensational CHASE HEARS IT lede and headline – which he may or may not have written (I believe NJ.com reporters do write their own headlines) – that leaves the reader thinking that, somehow, Chase Utley, perhaps one of only a handful of people in the organization that even pretends to give a shit, was the one to get it for the disaster on Tuesday night. No one else jumped to that conclusion. So Miller is either A) a bad reporter or B) reaching for clicks. I’ll go C– all of the above.
Luckily, Ryan Lawrence provided a full transcript, so you can judge for yourself:
Q: Did you watch the game?
Amaro: I didn’t get a chance to see every pitch, but I saw parts of it.
Q: Did you see the confusion on the mound at the end?
Amaro: I’m aware of it. It’s a mishap that can happen, but can never happen again. It’s been discussed. Taken care of.
Q: Aren’t you embarrassed?
Amaro: Well, it’s not our greatest moment, but it’s been addressed.
A few questions later, Amaro was asked specifically about Chase:
Q: Chase Utley seemed particularly frustrated with (pitching coach Bob) McClure last night with no pitcher ready to take over for Francoeur.
Amaro: “I think there’s a lot of frustration when you’re losing games and not having a lot of success. I’m sure that Chase is not all that pleased with his own particular performance and the performance of the team. None of us are. You’re going to get moments like that. Those things happen and we’ll move forward.
Not exactly warm and fuzzy, but that also doesn’t shout CHASE WAS GIVEN AN EARFUL AND CAN NEVER DO THAT AGAIN. In his answer to the first question, it seems fairly obvious that Amaro was talking about the entire situation, which, yeah, included Chase. He gave essentially a non-answer on the follow-up.
What’s even more interesting is that Miller included quotes from Francoeur and Ryne Sandberg specifically about Utley, but didn’t use Amaro’s response to the question about his second baseman… probably because it didn’t fit the narrative.
Randy Miller’s a real piece of work.
Side note: Next time a commenter rips into me for not watching the games, I’m just going to post this quote from Amaro, who must’ve had better things to do or adopted Billy Beane Pitt’s practice of not watching. Wish he would’ve tried to mimic the A’s GM in some other, more meaningful ways.