Ruben Amaro Jr. may have his job on the line this offseason because of people like me.
And, maybe, you.
In the few months that I have written in this space, I have intentionally avoided writing in the first person. I have a very clear understanding of my place in the world of sports journalism, and while I always have an opinion I know that putting my name and my personal feelings behind it does not really move the needle.
In this instance, though, first person is the way to go.
Impartial, heavily-researched, stat-laden takes on why the Phillies' general manager might get fired if 2013 is not better than this year are available all over the Web, including this site you're on right now.
So if you want to read about the nine figures' worth of contracts sunk in six players for next season (Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, Chase Utley,) or the depleted farm system, or all the holes the team has to fill (third base, the entire outfield, middle relief) suffice it to say you have options.
Not to go all Gary Matthews on you, but for me, Ruben Amaro Jr. is in trouble because of how I feel about the Sunday season tickets I still have for 2012 and for the tickets he wants me to buy again for 2013.
On Sunday I took my son and my daughter to the afternoon game against the Colorado Rockies. We did luck into getting a Hamels start after Saturday night's rainout, but neither lineup was what you could call high-wattage. The Rockies, especially, looked like a AAAA team: not minor league, but not major league, either.
While that was going on, the Philadelphia Eagles were playing the Cleveland Browns in their season opener.
Ostensibly, both the Phillies game and the Eagles game "counted," but let's be honest: 90% of the crowd at the Phillies game spent the day looking for Eagles score updates on their PDAs, and the other 10% were trying not to hear the score because the Eagles game was recording at home.
Think I'm overstating it? While my children and I were waiting for the family restroom, a stadium maintenance worker saw the phone in my hand and asked what the Eagles score was.
Essentially, then, I spent a couple hundred dollars (tickets, parking, food/drink) on an entertainment experience that was not particularly entertaining when I had a more enticing option available (for free!) at home.
And that is why Ruben Amaro Jr.'s tenure as the Phillies' general manager may be in jeopardy.
The season ticket invoices will come out like always this winter. Probably by then, the Phillies will have made some moves in free agency or in trade to address some of the needs listed above.
They do this every year now, it seems: Papelbon last year, Lee the year before that, Halladay the year before that, and so on—bold-type, splashy move to re-energize the fan base and, without question, to get the ticket-buying fence-sitters to sign up for one more year.
But it gets harder with each season removed from the 2008 World Championship season to write that check to the Phillies to save a place at the park.
Not so long ago, I was more than happy to give the Phillies my money and my time. I made it a priority to get the invoice paid on time—even early—to make sure my seats didn't go to somebody else.
I am not going to feel like that in January. I am going to stare at that invoice. I am going to remember how I felt at the stadium this particular Sunday (and really, all the Sundays since June). And I am going to make a decision.
That I have to think about it at all is why Ruben Amaro Jr. could be looking for work in 2013.
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