HEISER: Phillies' GM Amaro opens mouth, inserts foot — again


"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt."

That little nugget of wisdom has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, among many others.

It's becoming clear, however, that Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro isn't a history buff.

It's also becoming clear that Amaro isn't a baseball buff, either.

In fact, it's becoming clear that he is singularly unfit for his job.

The latest evidence of that came on Tuesday morning, when an interview that Amaro had with CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury went viral.

Salisbury was talking with Amaro about a couple of the Phillies' top pitching prospects (Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin) and when they might get called up to the big club.

Amaro said the Phils would be conservative with the baby aces and they would not be rushed to the majors, despite the fact that many Phils' fans are calling for their quick promotions.

So far, so good. Amaro's initial response was logical and measured, but he couldn't stop there. He went on to poke his finger into the eyes of Phils' fans everywhere, including thousands right here in York County.

"They don't understand the game," Amaro said. "They don't understand the process. There's a process. And then they b---- and complain because we don't have a plan. There's a plan in place, and we're sticking with the plan. We can't do what's best for the fan. We have to do what's best for the organization so the fan can reap the benefit of it later on. That's the truth."

Well, that might be the truth, but it's also a stupendously stupid thing to say.

The leader of a pro sports franchise should never publicly rip the folks who buy the tickets and watch the cable telecasts that pay the team's bills. It's simply bad business.

Walking back his comments: Not surprisingly, a social media firestorm immediately ensued. Amaro was vilified in thousands of posts on multiple platforms.

Also not surprisingly, Amaro was forced to quickly walk back his comments and apologize. In fact, he went on a damage-control tour with various media outlets in Philadelphia later on Tuesday.

The attempt at spin control, however, was far too little and far too late. The Twitter and Facebook genie was already out of the bottle.

Amaro might have been able to escape from the morass of his own idiotic statement if he had previously built up some good will with the team's fans, but Amaro has practically zero support from the Red and White faithful.

In a 2014 stay-or-go poll on Philly.com, more than 93 percent of respondents wanted Amaro to go. Things have only gotten worse for the Phils since then.

Amaro has stood watch over the complete collapse of a once-proud organization. When he took over as GM in 2008, the Phils were a model franchise coming off a World Series title. After a series of bad trades, weak drafts and horrific contracts, they are a baseball laughingstock.

Under Amaro, the team has gotten worse each and every season, despite one of the highest payrolls in baseball.

That's a track record that would get most people fired, but Amaro has somehow managed to keep his job.

Foot-in-mouth disease: What's worse is that Amaro's mistakes are not limited to just poor baseball decisions. He's also made a habit of saying the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong time.

Obviously, Tuesday's statement is the latest and greatest misstep, but it's far from Amaro's only case of foot-in-mouth disease.

During the offseason, in a radio interview, Amaro was talking about slugger Ryan Howard and his declining production when he said: "It would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him."

Look, there's no denying that statement was the truth, but there was no need to embarrass the face of the franchise by saying so publicly. It was completely unnecessary. Besides, Amaro is the man who gave Howard a wildly overpriced five-year, $125 million contract that now hangs like an anchor around the Phils' collective neck.

Reputation expert weighs in: Social media and reputation management expert Ken Wisnefski, who is founder and chief executive officer of internet marketer WebiMax, located on the Camden waterfront just across from Philadelphia, finds Amaro's remarks hard to fathom.

"You have to ask yourself, in this day and age where everything public figures say is under so much scrutiny, how is it that someone with so much authority can exhibit such poor judgment?" Wisnefski said. "How can that person then be expected to make good decisions?"

You have to wonder if this could end up being the final straw that leads to Amaro's overdue dismissal. Wisnefski believes it might.

"The reality is that if Ruben loses the faith of the fans, then he loses credibility and authority, making it that much harder to get anything done," Wisnefski said. "By insulting the fans he's really only putting his own job at risk."

If Amaro does indeed lose his job, this latest dustup might end up being the best news that Phillies' fans have received since that day in 2008 when he was named GM.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.