The gift and the curse: Amaro's former life as Phillies batboy

Today's naming of Ruben Amaro Jr. as Pat Gillick's successor in the Phillies' GM chair was such a certainty that it doesn't even qualify as a "worst-kept secret."

But how certain was Amaro's eventual ascension from being Philadelphia's assistant GM to earning a three-year contract to be the main man?

Let's put it this way: The 43-year-old had more than enough time to book a super-saver airline fare to this week's general manager meetings in Dana Point, Calif.

I must admit, though, that I was ignorant to the fact that Amaro is a Philadelphia native and was the Phillies batboy 25 years ago before serving a short mid-90s tenure in the team's outfield.

On one hand, that's a great self-made man story and it's nice to see a dream come true for a guy who knows Philadelphia unlike any other. He knows exactly what he's stepping into and I think owning an institutional memory can be an asset for him.

But on the other, it opens the door for a lot of "What do you expect, he's the batboy?" criticism should Amaro not be up to the task of reloading the world champs for another run.

Though he has a nice 2-3 year window to work some more magic at The Bank, Amaro's first big challenge will be restocking a farm system that produced a bulk of the World Series team but is currently thinner than an alley cat. Since Amaro beat out baseball lifer Mike Arbuckle — who ran the drafts that produced Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and Pat Burrell — he'll have plenty to prove.

What's more is that Arbuckle resigned upon hearing that he wasn't getting the job, so it's all on the former batboy to make sure he's got all the controls down pat. For better or worse, the ship is now his and it's loaded with many more expectations than it was a month ago.

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