Some generals — like Ike, my favorite — weren’t afraid of leadership.
The West Point graduate from Texas wrote the book on leadership. On June 6, 1944, General Eisenhower led an assault on the European continent, a fierce invasion called D-day.
The D-day victory was critically important to the Allied war effort and ultimately to the security of the United States.
After extensive planning, and after the weather cleared, Eisenhower moved forward with the invasion of Normandy.
When the beachhead was secured, his troops pushed through France. Perhaps Eisenhower’s biggest victory was the Battle of the Bulge, which followed D-Day.
On December 16, 1944, in bitter cold and snow, some 600,000 German soldiers and 1,000 tanks — Hitler’s death machine — broke through Allied lines.
Eisenhower made decisive decisions under extreme pressure, calling for Patton’s Third US Army to counter attack the German flank. It sealed the victory that cost 80,000 American lives.
During the fighting Eisenhower was promoted to General of the Army.
But then, there was General George B. McClellan.
After Lincoln made him General and Chief of the Union Army, and General of the Army of the Potomac, he trained his troops to prepare for the Peninsula Campaign: Destination — Richmond.
He trained and trained and trained, but hardly moved. Finally, in 1862, Lincoln had enough and fired McClellan — for the second time — because, Lincoln said, “the man has a terminal case of the slows.”
After the Civil War, McClellan became governor of New Jersey. That figures!
The Phillies are in daily battles, too, spread out from spring to fall. Not life or death, but it’s long and grueling. Players get wounded — sore arms, oblique strains, ruptured Achilles, patella tendonitis, rotator cuff — it’s all part of the game. Over a 162 game season some soldiers fall.
Generals make decisions that can bring on the parade, or send the players home . Generals pull strings and make deals.
Here are some that made a difference. Notice that all of them were made during the season.
** Cliff Lee was acquired by the Phillies in a July 29, 2002, just prior to the trade deadline. Lee went on to stellar performances in the regular season and the post.
**Lenny Dkystra, brought to Philly in a trade with the Mets on June 18, 1989, then led the Fightins’ into the 1993 World Series.
** On May 4th, 1975, the Phillies traded for the secretary of defense, Gary Maddox, a key contributor to the 1980 Word Series championship. Two thirds of the earth are covered by water, the other one third covered by Maddox (except when he dropped the ball in the 1978 NCLS, but we forgave him for that). Philly fans forgive, but they don’t forget.
** On August 19, 2006, the Phillies traded with Seattle for Jamie Moyer. All Moyer did was help lead the Phillies to the NL East title in 2007, their first in 14 years — and the 2008 World Series championship, the clubs’ first in 28 years.
** Then came Roy Oswalt, the fourth ace in the deck of four aces, in a deadline deal with the Astros on July 29, 2010.
Now, mired with a 13-13 record at the start of May, this team needs a pick-me-upper. A middle of the road team — not too bad and not too good — but surely a team that could slip away into mediocrity. Gone, silently, to settle in just above the Marlins in the NL East.
Am I right?
The Fightins’ need a Jamie Moyer trade — not in July or August, by then it would be too late. They need it now.
The empty seats could multiply faster than dirty laundry. Interest wanes, and Xfinity viewers finally get tired of figuring out what the hell Matt Stairs is saying.
If you think the Phillies’ rivals are the Braves and Nationals, think again. Trust me, The Americans, House of Cards, and reruns of Breaking Bad are bigger threats.
Only the general can prevent this. Only the general can make a Moyer move, or bring to Philly another Dkystra to breathe life into a .500 level team.
So what’s it going to be? Will Amaro have a terminal case of the slows? Or will he make a move now that could help make the Phillies a contender?
But, as my friend Marty in Albuquerque says, “Maybe they don’t care anymore, with the Comcast money flowing.”
Is that true? I don’t know.
But I do know this: SanDiego is waiting for the call.