Dear Mo………Dear John
Mo, I hope you enjoyed my humorous take on the early days of your administration. I envisioned an ongoing comedic analysis of your work but alas, the inspiration died.
My original editions (a great place for a hyperlink if I knew where it was or how to do such things), imho, were quite funny, but subsequent efforts faded in their hilarity.
Was I a one hit comedy wonder? Perhaps. But I realized why I could no longer slam you, Mo. I began to like you. In my mind, you have transformed from the man who happened to be standing nearest Uncle Walt when the sword fell to someone who might actually be an improvement. It’s harder to deliver the sharp wit when I start to care for someone. Like the guy falling on the ice – the laughs are much louder for a stranger or enemy.
I’ve gotten to know you a bit and I like what I see – even those folksy web interviews you do that reveal nothing of substance. You’ve earn respect via a good performance turned in along with grace, style, humility and humor. You did not re-sign Cairo. You got rid of Kelvin. You ended the silly Rolen fued and delivered Santy Glaus to boot. You swallowed hard and then wisely and gracefully said good-bye to Jed. You’ve made no major mistakes except Jo-el who was probably pushed onto you. But more than approval, you’ve earned my empathy. Empathy is good – just not as funny.
Empathy indeed. You have a glut of maybe pitchers and average outfielders. You have no lead-off hitter or decent middle infielders. You are lacking in starting pitchers and you have carp size injury questions. Your closer role is as uncertain as Perez control or Motte’s second pitch. You have no LOOGY and we all know that Tony can’t think properly without at least two. Half of your roster will over-achieve next year, while some will tank. But – they don’t have the common courtesy to let you know who is who.
You have limited funds at your disposal, you have stiff competition in the NL Central, MLB competitors with gargantuan budgets and you have limited experience as the head guy. Heck, you can’t even consult Walt anymore for fear of being fleeced. You are partially in charge of one of the most storied sports franchises ever.
Few in your sport can keep a secret – some even leak rumors as a negotiation ploy. Your every move is scrutinized publicly. Btw, why did you change brands of socks? To make matters worse, you have the most intelligent fan base in MLB, a million geniuses watching your every move via the Post-Dispatch, ESPN, VEB and a thousand other inferior blogs. And you must admit, in the midst of the occasional verbose dim-wits, there are definitely geniuses lurking on VEB. Feel free to use our best ideas and take credit.
Don’t worry a second about all those recently out of work GMs that litter the sports landscape or that if need be, St. Louis could raise the money before lunchtime to buy out your contract.
Like the rest of us, you probably have an unrealistic boss who occasionally yells. Maybe even his son yells at you. You probably have sharply differing opinions within your own staff and probably a few incompetent subordinates not to mention those who want your job. You have to deal with agents, players and other GMs who are undoubtedly difficult to deal with if not downright clever, mean, unrealistic or insane. Some agents and GMs are probably asking for the moon, some are trying to play you and some probably don’t return your calls. About the time you near a deal, something changes.
How does it feel to humbly negotiate with an arrogant high school drop-out who makes more in a year than you do in a lifetime? No one cares if you work really hard and really truly care. Just win.
I’m guessing Tony calls from time to time to remind you to take care of Miles and that he needs “protection” for Albert. You’re probably still scared of Duncan and for good reason. Gaining the consensus of your management team is probably a nightmare. You have to interpret those mysterious medical reports from Paletta and then there’s that minor issue of Albert’s contract extension hanging over your head. You’ve got to maneuver with HR, legal, MLB and the Player’s Union in mind. You probably have your fair share of knuckleheads to deal with. As with our companies, you probably have terribly embarrassing in-house issues that the public doesn’t even know about.
You have to daily deal with the press - the caring intelligent professionals and the lazy hacks who lack integrity. My guess is that you too have wife, kids and a family to manage. Heck, like me, you probably have household chores, kid’s math homework that’s over your head, an annoying dog and a bizarre neighbor. You probably field a couple thousand voice and e-mails per day. Since you are human, we can assume that you have good days and bad and that you probably make mistakes from time to time.
Do you sometimes feel you are playing poker against sharks, with not enough chips, a bad hand, your Cards showing and the entire world looking over your shoulder while your career has been anteed?
Please remember, Mo – this is empathy, not sympathy. There is no sympathy for you are handsomely paid to do a job we are all convinced we could do better – plus you get to travel in the cool private plane and watch every game from a luxury sky box. But there is empathy, Mo. So much so, I just no longer have it in me to make fun of you.
I wish you the best. I really do. With limited funds, you’ve somehow got to magically turn Duncan, Mather, Shumaker, Ludwick, Ankiel, Haerther, Stavinoha, Jay, Jones, Kennedy, Anderson, some of your pitchers but NOT COLBY into Furcal, Burnett, Peavy, Fuentes or something like that – all within budget and without selling our favorites or your soul, first-born, farm system, long term club stability or job. Speaking of Kennedy, have you investigated trade partners in the Pioneer League?
You don’t have a bad hand but you’ve got to turn it into a very different hand in about two months time. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice – the clock is ticking and we are all watching your every move and non-move……ready to critique at a moment’s notice. May I suggest the extended life cell phone battery that you will be using while your family is enjoying the holidays?
Yes, we will be watching. In fact, some of us have been known to consult our Blackberry during the Sunday sermon for hot stove updates. For if nothing else, lboros taught us that roster management is nearly as interesting a sport as the game itself. Btw, do you have a cool matrix or do you use ours?
So, good luck Mo – really. We’re all pulling for you. But I do have one warning for you. While we empathize with you, we can also turn on you. Think you’re safe? Just make a bad move and see how many volunteer to give you a one way ride to the top of the Arch. My own sharp wit has been known to return as quickly as it disappeared. GMs come and go but Cardinal Nation lives forever.
Drive successfully for you are temporarily holding the keys to the precious family car that we dearly love. I sure hope that my next inspiration is a complimentary Dear Mo letter and not a sarcastic Dear John letter.
Go get ‘em Mo!
I like you – for now,