Ruben Amaro, Jr. is the front man for the Philadelphia Phillies. All baseball general managers are, which raises an interesting question regarding the current state of this team.
Despite past public pronouncements, how much leeway does Amaro have to run the team as he sees fit?
Longtime fans know that Ruly Carpenter sold his family legacy to a group that was led by Bill Giles in 1981. That business transaction began the transformation of Philadelphia’s baseball team from a ‘Mom-and-Pop’ store into a corporation.
Fast-forwarding to the fall of 2008, Amaro was promoted to GM. Succeeding Pat Gillick was doubly hard, as ‘Stand Pat’s’ Hall of Fame induction lie straight ahead and he had just guided the team to it’s second-ever World Series Championship.
David Montgomery is the team’s General Partner, having taken over for Giles (Chairman) a number of years ago. His complete staff, which includes Amaro’s topping of the baseball administrative department, is vast.
The carefully planned idea that became Citizens Bank Park was Giles’ brilliant brainstorm. He was convinced that a Camden Yards’ style stadium would enable the Phillies to effectively compete with the big boys and he was right.
The massive marketing efforts that combined with the perfect diamond storm of homegrown talent resulted in well over 3 million fans visiting the Park for many years. A long sellout streak that recently ended fueled a deep financial base for Amaro to work from. However, all upsides are often balanced by other elements.
It would not be surprising to learn through a future ebook autobiography that Amaro’s advisors, which include Gillick, Dallas Green, Ed Wade and others only have a certain amount of influence over baseball matters. The marketing department’s success have likely impacted the top brass and in turn Amaro’s decision-making process.
An average of over 6,200 less fans attending games this season will surely affect next season’s budget and the team’s ability to make moves.
While this entire line of thought can obviously be reduced with counter points, there should be no real doubt that a decent theory has been offered: Amaro has been asked to work at a unique time in team history and within a developing corporate culture whose influence can’t be denied. His place isn’t at the top, but somewhere within middle management.