"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears...I've come to bury Gillick, not to praise him."
Failure is a big part of baseball. Offensively, good hitters fail seven out of ten times. So maybe you see a player six out of those seven? Typically then, the word 'bum' comes to mind. Doesn't matter that he tripled while you were at the refrigerator.
Defensively, not a player alive goes through a major league season without making an error, and that's not counting the mental errors that can cost games.
"Here, under leave of Cataldi and the rest; so are they all; all honourable men."
The 610 morning motor-mouth 'cell-phone-oil-salesman' and international free newspaper columnist Angelo Cataldi recently hammered away at Phillies GM Pat Gillick, knifing him in the back for his mistakes on Freddi Garcia, Adam Eaton, Wes Helms, and Rod Barajas. In his column, Cataldi says that Gillick deserved none of the bubbly that flowed like sweet vindiction for a 14 year playoff drought brought on by cheapness or stupidity or both.
"The evil that men do lives after them...the good is oft interred with their bones."
Cataldi has fallen into that trap of picking out the bad, i.e., trade Chase Utley, after all, he made 354 outs in 2007 and 89 of them were strike outs. What a bum! General managers, like second basemen, fail; they couldn't possibly succeed all of the time. Take for example a few GMs whose names might ring a bell.
"So let it be with Gillick, the nobel Cataldi; Hath told you that Gillick is ambitious...if it were so, it was a grievous fault."
Boston Red Sox GM and wonderboy Theo Epstein has a World Championship flag hanging from the roof top in Fenway Park, but several dead-body-mistakes hang there, too. Mistakes like Byung Hyun Kim, Edgar Renteria, Jeremy Giambi, Ramiro Mendoza, and Jeff Suppan.
Check out the numbers on $100 million pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka and decide for yourself if he was a mistake.
South on I-95, the Yankees Brian Cashman also has some dead-body-mistakes hidden amoungst the Yankee Stadium monuments and plaques of Ruth and Gehrig. Mistakes like Hideki Irabu, Jeff Weaver, Kevin Brown, Jose Contrares, Javier Vazqie, Jon Lieber, David Wells, Carl Pavano, and Jaret Wright.
Let's just take Pavano, for example. The Yankees gave Pavano a four year deal for almost $40 million through 2008. Often injured, Pavano was a complete flop for the Yankees. Shoulder, back, elbow, ribs, you name it, Pavano had it. He made J.D. Drew look like a poster boy for BodyBeautiful.
Atlanta's John Schuerholtz, through an amazing run of 14 division titles, can also count the costly mistakes he's made on players that didn't pan out. Can you say John Rocker? Schuerholtz's dead body mistakes are buried beneath the peach trees that surround Turner Field. While trading three players for Tim Hudson was sweet cream for Schuerholtz, his acquisition of Lance Cormier is more like half-and-half. Win some lose some. But don't dwell on the negative.
"But Cataldi says he was ambitious...and Cataldi is an honourable man."
What can be worse than making mistakes as a GM, is the fear to make a mistake. The next lefthander you take a chance on shouldn't be hindered by the mistake you made on Adam Eaton. Like a closer, one night you strike out the side: Save. Three nights later you make a good pitch but it goes yard: Blown Save. So what, who cares? Move on. You can't carry it with you. So let the bottom feeder Catali point his finger and condem Mr. Pat Gillick.
"I speak not to disprove what Cataldi spoke...but here I am to speak what I know."
As for me, I say to Mr. Gillick, are these your only mistakes? All right, way to go. Thank you for a great season.
Thank you for signing Aaron Rowand, and for Greg Dobbs, Jason Werth, J.D. Romero, Jamie Moyer, Kyle Lohse, and thank God you went out and got Tadahiito Iguchi to hold down second base while Chase mended.
Then I toast Mr. Gillick with the bubbly, that same bubbly enjoyed by players and fans alike, and I tell him to him go forth without fear or trepidation and build us a team for next year that will go beyond the good deeds of the ' 07 Phillies.
"Et tu, Cataldi?"