It appears that my manager, Rick Churches, and I don't see things eye-to-eye. Not sure where this all started. When he was one of our TV guys, he was a nice enough person. We never went out for beers, probably because I don't drink, but we never argued or bickered or had any problems. When he wanted to interview me, we'd have a nice chat in front of the camera and then part ways.
He became our manager in early-October and was given a very generous three-year deal. Want to know the first thing he said to me when I saw him after he signed? I was shaking his hand and had just congratulated him. Here's his quote: "Who's got the longer deal now, Jimmy?" I was unsure who was being compared, but assumed he meant he and I. But again, I was unsure why he'd want to compare our length of contracts. Vanessa would say it's a guy thing. But if that was so, he would have dropped his pants and asked to compare something else. No, this was specific to me. I know because when I asked another player about his experience with Rick, the player said Rick hugged him and gushed about how he now had his "dream job."
I don't want to sound paranoid, but I think my manager doesn't like me. I think he thinks I'm ruining his self-described "dream job" somehow. And I don't know why.
Here's proof. He was interviewed on Monday and talked about how the Giants had that great come-from-behind victory in the Super Bowl and how Peyton Manning kept his composure and led the team to victory. When asked to compare the Giants to our team, he said there were some "gamers" in our locker room, but also some guys "on notice." When asked to be specific, he said he wouldn't say, especially since one of these alleged non-gamers isn't talking either. I get it. That means me. I am on notice with my manager because of my non-gamerness.
It got interesting then, because after he said he wouldn't name names, he did. He went on about how Felipe Castro is going to have to come to camp prepared, even though his mother is still held against her will somewhere in Venezuela and Felipe is going through a hell none of us can imagine. He said Cory Belle is welcome in the clubhouse as long as he keeps his "demons" on a leash until the end of October. He said he felt the Kai Goto acquisition was the key to the team's off season. Another quote: "It's important to have the Jimmy Scott of Japan on this team, especially if we don't know if the Jimmy Scott of America even exists anymore."
Ouch. Still, I do exist. I'm right here.
I think Rick's trying to be the master motivator. He wants to be very vocal in the press. He wants "his" players to know where they stand before we show up in 10 days for spring training. He wants us to know who's boss. From what I heard, the clubhouse was a mess last year. Since I wasn't around much at all due to my injury, I can't confirm or deny. It was the main reason why Rick's predecessor got fired. He wants to restore order. Anybody can respect that. It's just hard to respect the way he's going about it.
Fan Fest is tomorrow at the Jacob Javits Center. I'll be there. A bunch of guys will. The timing stinks as we report in 10 days for camp and won't return home to our families for 6 months. To have guys fly in this close to our report date is kind of dumb. The should have had it last month, like it's always been. Oh well, not my call. Guess whose call it was?
He and I will share a room tomorrow. Yes, I will be uncomfortable. GM Alvin Kirby will be there. My super agent, Jack Perry, can't go to serve as a buffer between them and me, so he's sending someone in his place. The guy better be 8 feet tall and 500 pounds, because I really don't want to look at Rick or Alvin for at least 10 more days. They've lied to me and are misusing their power, in my opinion. I looked on one of the fan blogs and saw a poll asking who looks better in the current climate, Rick & Alvin or me. Over 3500 people voted. I think I got something like 2700 votes. I hope the other 800 folks show up at Fan Fest tomorrow so they can see and hear for themselves why they voted wrong.
This is a bad situation right now. Unless the team gives me an outright release, which they don't want to do because this whole deal is about not paying my contract, something they'd have to do by releasing me, then the situation will just get worse. My grievance goes in front of a board later this week. I'm going to be there. Rick and Alvin will too, I assume. So tomorrow, we're supposed to be all happy and silly with the fans and on Thursday (or whenever) we're going to be at each other's throats.
I can't tell them what to do, but I think this is no way to run a team. Unless they want to run it into the ground.