I have felt the rage of thunder where faith and doubt reside, and the counterclockwise clouds that form when hope and truth collide, and the presence of the cool breeze as flames draw ever near, and the ego mix with empathy and charge my atmosphere. I have felt within myself our violent affliction, I have felt within myself our natural condition, but I have never felt within myself the kind of inner turmoil that I experienced when I listened to Man of the People Mike Missanelli interview Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr yesterday on 97.5 FM. Actually, I listened to it today, and you should too, and after you do, you should do what I did, which is sit on a couch for two hours and attempt to compose a poem that explains exactly how you feel. This, my friends, is internal conflict in its most convoluted form. On the one hand, you have a general manager who oversees a roster that could go down as the worst pound-for-pound roster in recent big league history. On the other hand, you have a radio host who spends 10 minutes yelling at said general manager under the pretenses of an interview.
As luck would have it, I spent part of the morning rubbing a fresh coat of oil into the saddle of my high horse, so I hope you don’t mind if I — *grunts and puts left sneaker into stirrup — hop aboard. The problem with the whole bully pulpit act is that it rarely results in illuminating discourse. Unlike a court of law, the rules are tilted heavily in favor of the cross-examiner, and the result often feels like one of those congressional hearings where a cranky old man sits behind a microphone and yells at the witness as loud and as fast as he can before he must cede the spotlight to somebody else. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I’m guessing that Col. Jessup would have reacted differently if EVERY question that he faced was, “DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED?”
That’s not to say that the topics that Missanelli broached were not mostly legitimate. He spent much of his time yelling out a theory that players decline as they get older, and that Amaro’s problem is that he gave too much money to players who are now old and are not coming close to their production levels. It is a reasonable suggestion that is backed by plenty of observational evidence, chiefly that no player has ever played forever. The problem is that the interview turns into a shouting match that was similar to the shouting match that Missanelli initiated with ESPN’s Keith Law back in 2010, not long after Ryan Howard signed his mega contract extension, when Law suggested that Howard was not worth the money, and that the deal would end very poorly for the Phillies, and Missanelli vehemently disagreed. For some reason, I couldn’t find audio of it.