Until You’ve Personally Run A Franchise Into The Ground, Please Leave The GM Criticism To Steve Phillips
“There are many more responsibilities that a general manager has beyond just building the 25-man roster in the big leagues,” argues former Mets GM/horny broadcaster Steve Phillips in his latest Fanhouse post, perhaps letting those who’d openly challenge Omar Minaya or Seattle’s Jack Zduriencik that for all their supposed baseball smarts, “NOBODY UNDERSTANDS WHAT THE GENERAL MANAGER’S JOB REALLY ENTAILS!”
The reality is that being a general manager really isn’t a job; it is a lifestyle. The GM usually arrives at the ballpark about 9 a.m. on weekdays, works all day, stays for the game, speaks to the manager after the game and gets home at about 1 a.m. only to do it all over again the next day. The GM is at the ballpark on weekends and holidays as well. The team plays 162 games and the GM is at every home game and about half the road games. The other half of the time when the team is on the road, the GM is watching his minor league teams play.
The most amazing part of it is that after a 162-game schedule finishes, the work really starts. That is when the GM and his staff are working to rebuild and reconstruct their team for the following season. There is no offseason for the front office. It is a grueling life that, in the end, only truly rewards one team per year.
So despite what you might believe know this — not everyone can be a general manager.
In fact, there are very few that are capable.
Earlier in the piece, Phillips outlines — in detail — the sort of thankless tasks a G.M. is faced with, including but hardly limited to “educating the media and the fans about the game.” That seems like a heck of a way to rationalize one-on-one tutorials with interns (never has the infield fly rule sounded so seductive), but as David Roth put it so well, “you have to imagine that the guy wouldn’t write patronizing columns (with all-caps interludes) about how unqualified most people in the world are for being GMs unless he really enjoyed being mocked by the internet. Who knows what dark fetishes lurk behind the goateed mask of sanity with this guy?” And who knows what Phillips’ editor at Fanhouse could’ve been thinking when Zipper Problem Steve’s rambling achievement in self-aggrandizement was turned in and apparently published, as-is?