June 19, 2008
I imagine it's tough being a general manager in the AL East. Each year, you have to deal with the likes of the Red Sox, the Yankees and their supersized budgets. And starting this year, you have to worry about the Rays and all the talent they've stockpiled through the draft in recent years. The O's haven't been bad, either.
So if you're Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi (that's who we're talking about here), you also have to worry about other Jays-based things, like A.J. Burnett decimating his trade value by mocking the home fans as he walks off the mound or how exactly to ship Frank Thomas out of town — by ground or two-day air?
Still, I can't believe all that stress and pressure would have added up to create one of the better "ohnooheedid-unt!"woodshed moments in sports talk radio history — and against a player who was probably just minding his own business in Cincinnati.
To set the scene, Ricciardi was taking phone calls on his Wednesday night radio show when a caller suggested that he pursue Cincinnati's Adam Dunn as a way to "save" Toronto's flagging offense.
Finger, meet nerve.
Said Ricciardi: "He’s a lifetime .230, .240 hitter that strikes out a ton and hits home runs."
Said the caller: "“Yes, he hits home runs, which none of the Toronto Blue Jays are doing."
“Do you know the guy doesn’t really like baseball that much?” Ricciardi said to the caller. “Do you know the guy doesn’t have a passion to play the game that much? How much do you know about the player?
“There’s a reason why you’re attracted to some players and there’s a reason why you’re not attracted to some players. I don’t think you’d be very happy if we brought Adam Dunn here …
“We’ve done our homework on guys like Adam Dunn and there’s a reason why we don’t want Adam Dunn. I don’t want to get into specifics."
As Josh Alper over at Fanhouse notes, it's probably not a good idea to be sitting J.P. and Adam at the same table at any future award banquets. Nor is it to say anything other than "no comment" if you don't have nice things to say about a player. The Reds play the Dodgers this afternoon, so I'm sure we'll be seeing something from Mr. Dunn soon. He's a noted nice guy, so it'll be interesting to see if he goes the same place that Ricciardi did. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: My man C. Trent Rosecrans has Dunn's response. Here's a sampling:
"I don’t know the clown. I don’t know, and you can use the word ‘clown’ if you like."
"I’ve seen it, I haven’t heard it. I really don’t care what one guy thinks, to be honest with you. If I’m a G.M., I don’t know that I’d go out of my way to discredit a player — if I’m a player. He’s obviously won more than me, I guess. Or hasn’t. I know nothing about him."
"He’s not even in our country. This guy’s in another country talking ****."
"I don’t care about the perception people have of me, if anything happens, it looks like I ain’t going to Toronto. I can eliminate one team. I’m not converting my dollars into looneys and twoneys just yet. They’re really good, actually."
Nothing like a good fight absolutely out of nowhere to brighten up a random Thursday, is there?