Montgomery shouldn't be giving a pass to underachieving Amaro

Posted: August 22, 2014


Timing can be everything, and, frankly, this is a bad time for Phillies president David Montgomery to have given general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. another public vote of confidence.

Obviously, what Montgomery thinks behind closed doors will differ from what he says publicly about the team's future, but it was irresponsible for Montgomery to have told a group of fans the other day that "[Amaro] is not on the hot seat."

When your major league club is 15 games under .500 with the third-highest payroll in baseball and your minor league system is devoid of promising prospects, no one can be off the "hot seat" - especially not the person overseeing the entire organization.

It's fine if Montgomery does not want to say whether Amaro, who is under contract through the 2015 season, is in jeopardy of being fired, but no one involved with the Phillies right now should be getting votes of confidence.

The Phillies are such a mess that everyone, including Amaro, manager Ryne Sandberg and all of the players, should be on the hot seat.

Obviously, it won't happen, but if Montgomery is truly committed to convincing this fan base that the Phillies are committed to doing whatever it takes to turning this thing around, he should say that the only guy on a hotter seat than Amaro is himself.

In my Small Opinion . . .

If anyone would know firsthand about being suspended for making racially charged comments, it would be Rush Limbaugh.

In 2003, Limbaugh resigned only weeks into his weekend job as an NFL studio commentator for ESPN after he created a firestorm by making remarks about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb that many viewed as racist.

Yesterday on his radio program, Limbaugh suggested that Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka will be suspended from his job as an ESPN analyst after remarks he made about the push to have the NFL team in Washington change its nickname from a racial slur against Native Americans.

It wasn't merely that Ditka expressed his opinion that the team not change its name because it is "part of American football history," but the legendary player and former coach of the Chicago Bears went on to say that any people whose opinions differed from his are "politically correct idiots in America."

Ditka is certainly entitled to his opinion. It is his right to use the racial slur name of the NFL team in Washington, just as I have elected not to use it, because I believe it is a slur just as harmful as the N-word or any other ethnic, sexual orientation or religious slur.

But Ditka has created an issue for ESPN, by going all "Iron and disparaging a lot of people who take this issue seriously by calling them "idiots" and saying their concerns are "so much horse[bleep] it's incredible" and "so stupid, it's appalling."

ESPN is in a tough spot if it simply tries to ignore what Ditka said and go on with business as usual.

Starting with Limbaugh, the network set a precedent for how it will respond to its commentators whose words create social maelstroms.

In 2012, Rob Parker was fired from his job as a regular guest on "First Take" when he questioned on air whether Washington rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III was "a brother, or is he a cornball brother?"

In July, commentator Stephen A. Smith was suspended for a week from "First Take" when he made a remark concerning the NFL's two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back for domestic abuse. Many thought he implied that women might be partly responsible for the abuse.

Smith was taken off ESPN for a week, even though he publicly apologized for his remarks.

Considering Ditka's comments were more specific and were directed at a much broader group of people, it's hard to see how he cannot face some kind of discipline.

Not that Limbaugh believes Ditka did anything wrong. He, in fact, supported Ditka's argument.

Still, experience is often the best teacher.

"Anyway, [Ditka] works at ESPN, but I don't know," Limbaugh said. "I mean once this gets out, he's at least gotta be suspended."

In my Small Opinion . . .

Back in the 1970s, my aunt drove a Chevrolet Nova. She once told me the urban legend that the car was not sold in Mexico because its name sounded like the Spanish phrase "no va," which translated to "it doesn't work."

Turns out, the Nova sold just fine in Spanish-speaking countries.

Ever since the Union signed a sponsorship deal with Bimbo USA bakeries in 2011, the team's jersey, with BIMBO stitched across the front, has been a source of consternation for some fans who want to wear it.

Lost in translation is the fact the company is part of Mexico's Grupo Bimbo, and the name is pronounced "beembo."

The named was coined in 1945 by mixing the names bingo and Bambi. Its mascot is a cuddly teddy bear wearing a chef's hat.

The only negative association comes when Americans refuse to pronounce the name correctly.



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