Wednesday, December 8, 2010

1992 O-Pee-Chee Premier #16 Ruben Amaro, Jr.

I recently returned from a few days of work-mandated training down in Orlando.  I was within a stone's throw of the Baseball Winter Meetings being held over in Disney's Swan and Dolphin Resorts, but I didn't get a chance to make my way over to the lobby to market my wares and see if anyone would take a chance on an aging former middle infielder with little to no pop.

I did however get the chance to rub elbows with a key player in the Jayson Werth saga.  Sort of.  Well, not really.  But here's my story anyway.  While I was in Orlando, Werth signed his ridonkulous* 7-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals.  At the exact moment the news of this signing seeped out into a shocked baseball world, I was sitting about 15 feet from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. on the flight down to Orlando on Sunday afternoon.

Prior to boarding, I first spotted Amaro in the corner of our gate, typing along on his laptop and completely unaware that anyone was standing across from him, gaping.  After the giddiness of spotting Amaro wore off, and after I texted several people to share my good fortune, a few thoughts crossed my mind: What if I'm seated next to Amaro on the plane ride down to Orlando?  What would we talk about?  Would I get any inside dirt?  Would he offer me a job in the Phillies' front office?  Would we become best friends and maybe I'd even end up with a 2011 World Series Championship ring?

2010 Bowman Chrome #17
But it wasn't to be. We began to board the plane and as I made my way down the aisle to seat 21A, I spied Amaro in his seat in row 10. (Is it strange that one of the most powerful GM's in baseball flies coach?) Not wanting to completely miss my opportunity, I leaned in, tapped his shoulder and said, "Good luck this week." Earth shattering stuff, I know. Amaro looked up from his laptop and casually replied, "Thanks, but it should be a slow week." And that was it.  Did he know Werth was about to sign with the Nationals?  If he did, that could explain why he was kind of grumpy when I saw him.  Then again, maybe it was the guy tapping his shoulder on the plane that made him grumpy.

I had another chance to approach Amaro as we waited for our luggage to arrive on the baggage carousel.  I chickened out however and approached the Philadelphia Daily News' Paul Hagen instead, as he was also on our flight.  "So did Werth really just sign with the Nationals?" I asked.  "That's what I'm hearing," said Hagen, "I think Todd [Zolecki, from] just broke the news."  He went on to say, "I guess it shows that in the end he was more interested in the money than in winning."  (Hagen filed this report on Monday, and he echoes what he told me in the airport in the last sentence of his article.)

Will D.C. embrace the beard?  (
A few hours later, Amaro addressed Werth's departure during a makeshift press conference in Orlando.  He revealed the Phillies had made a "significant" offer to Werth, but obviously it didn't come close to what the Nationals were offering in terms of dollars or years.  Sadly, Amaro never mentioned the fine looking gentleman who tapped his shoulder and wished him luck on the plane.

* This is the first time I've ever used this word in print, however I feel it to be the perfect word to best describe Werth's contract.


Dan said...

I also had a run-in with Ruben Amaro, Jr once. It was 1992 or 1993 when he was playing with the Phillies. As usual, my family was in a furniture store on the weekend. My dad recognized him and talked to him for awhile. He signed one my Beverly Cleary books. I wonder what happened to that book?

deal said...

Good stuff - you know your a big fan when you even recognize the beat writers for the team.

Glad you sed something and glad the Phils GM flies coach.

Jim said...

Dan - Sounds like he was in a better mood back in 1992!

Phungo - Maybe he's saving the team money so they can go after Cliff Lee?