Ruben Amaro Jr.'s latest pitch about the ignorance of fans had less control than a Jake Diekman fastball. What he said to CSNPhilly.com was as dumb as a tiger entering a den of lions and rubbing the ears of a lioness.
Yes, the Phillies general manager got what he deserved on this one. If he had only applied the rule about thinking before speaking he could have avoided a media maelstrom and made a valid point about how patience is needed in the midst of a rebuilding project.
Instead, he just ticked off a bunch of people who already had him ranked one level below pond scum. Why would a man sitting on a tinderbox come armed with a match?
I think I know why.
Amaro feels as though he cannot win no matter what he does right now, and we're not talking about anything that is happening on the field. He listened over and over again as the fans pleaded for the rebuilding process to begin in 2013 and 2014, but he resisted in part because of urging from above to keep the good times rolling as long as possible.
If you think Amaro was alone in putting together the terms and conditions of Ryan Howard's five-year, $125 million contract, you are obviously not aware of former team president David Montgomery's allegiance to and adoration of homegrown stars.
There was also a push from above to give Jimmy Rollins one last big contract after the 2011 season - and, you know what? It was not a bad idea. Rollins stuck around long enough to become the franchise leader in hits and played just well enough for the Phillies to make what appears to be an outstanding trade for pitchers Zach Eflin and Tom Windle.
What should be most galling to Amaro is that he is the most successful general manager in the city, but he is looked upon as the least successful one.
He was an assistant general manager when Ed Wade patiently built a winning baseball team and he remained in that role when Pat Gillick came along and provided the final impetus to bring Philadelphia its only world championship in the last 32 years.
Montgomery handed the keys to Amaro with the edict to win another title and he damn near did in his first season as general manager. You can argue that anyone can drive a Rolls-Royce and have a comfortable ride, but that dismisses the acquisitions of Raul Ibanez, Pedro Martinez, and Cliff Lee that helped make a second straight World Series appearance possible.
It also discounts that the best of the five straight division-winning teams was the 2011 squad that won a franchise-record 102 games with a rotation that had four different pitchers from the one that won the World Series.
This is not to say that Amaro has had a mistake-free tenure. Far from it. His three biggest mistakes, in my estimation, were the two Hunter Pence trades - he gave up too much in the one with Houston and did not get enough back in the one with San Francisco - and the three-year, $24 million contract he gave to Joe Blanton in 2010. I also think he failed miserably in an effort to get offensive help at the start of the 2012 season, when he knew that a good portion of the year would be played without Howard.
Amaro has also done other things that have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. I think way too much blame was attached to former scouting director Marti Wolever, whose final two first-round draft picks (J.P. Crawford and Aaron Nola) figure to be the cornerstone of the franchise's rebirth. I've also witnessed occasions when Amaro's hubris has not served him well, with the most recent one being his comments about the fans.
Compared with the other general managers in this city, however, Amaro, along with Ron Hextall of the Flyers, is by far the most accessible, if not the most affable. He did not hide Tuesday after his ill-constructed comments. He immediately apologized for them.
Chip Kelly, by comparison, did not speak for more than two months after owner Jeffrey Lurie stripped Howie Roseman of the general manager's title and gave that role to his head coach.
Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, described his former assistant Sam Hinkie - the 76ers current GM - this way: "Sam views everything said in public as information given away for free."
Does that not reek of self-importance?
What matters, of course, is the record, and right now the Phillies are a bad team, which makes them no different from the 76ers or the Flyers. But why is there unlimited patience for the Sixers in the rebuilding process and zero for the Phillies?
Aren't the Phillies the last team in this city to bring the sort of joy that was missing for a quarter-century? Is it not a lot more complicated to rebuild a baseball team than a basketball team? The answers are yes and yes.
Amaro has said the Phillies should be able to rebuild faster than a lot of other teams because of the resources they have available. By contrast, Hinkie has no time line or deadline.
Amaro messed up Monday and he made mistakes in trying to keep the Phillies on top. But right now he is the general manager of a rebuilding team and, if nothing else, he deserves as much patience as Hinkie, if not more.