If you listened to the Houston Astros press conference Thursday, you might have gotten the opinion that Ed Wade is just an innocent weakling who never raises his voice and who does not have a temper. And that might be what the Astros want you to think, that Ed Wade was an innocent little victim who never did nothing to nobody.
But that’s not quite the national consensus.
For instance, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (Fox’s version of Peter Gammons) finished off his story on the whole matter by stating, “Their manager needs to get a grip. And their GM needs to get a grip, period.”
And according to the people of Philadelphia – Wade’s previous stop as general manager – Chacon’s a saint, and this action was one that was long in coming. There was a caller to 610’s Thursday afternoon show who claimed to be the nephew of Pat Gillick, the current GM of the Phillies, who spoke about what a jerk Wade was while with the Phillies, and how everyone in the organization had always been shocked that Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins or Pat Burrell had never attacked Wade.
Now, not quite believing Pat’s nephew, I did a little Internet research and came across the writing of a Philadelphia sports writer who had dealt with Wade. He talks about a closed door meeting between himself, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and Wade, in which Wade threw a chair against a wall, breaking two of the legs.
But it gets better. The writer states, “Wade’s temper is legendary. Billy Wagner used to tell me stories of Wade flipping out on the team. When I wrote about Wade’s temper after his firing in October 2005, several team employees emailed me to tell me their stories of Wade’s in-office tantrums on employees.”
And he includes this great statement: “But knowing Wade like I do and knowing how players respected him in Philadelphia, all I can say is I’m not surprised one bit.”
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So I know how innocent Wade sounded in Thursday’s press conference. But I don’t care about how Shawn Chacon should have controlled himself. Ed Wade is not harmless. And I specifically agree with Rosenthal that “the Astros are mistaken if they think that their issues begin and end with one disgruntled, out-of-control pitcher.” (And this is confirmed in an edited interview between Jose de Jesus Ortiz and Roy Oswalt – there’s nothing stated specifically by Oswalt, but I think the implications are pretty clear, especially when, asked if the Astros did the right thing, Oswalt’s answer is less than a ringing endorsement: “That's their decision. They don't pay me to do that. They pay me to pitch.”)
I’m not quite buying the whole Thursday press conference, and it bugs me that the Astros took nearly a day to address Chacon’s comments to the Chron, especially after Ortiz says he took Chacon’s comments to the Astros, but that the Astros refused to deny anything. This strikes me as Drayton and Wade and Cecil Cooper taking a day with the PR department while attempting to come up with just the perfect story. And with Wade’s history, I just don’t buy it. I don’t.
So it’s one thing for the Astros to dump Shawn Chacon – though they’ve got to deal with the union – but it’s another thing for the Astros to say that Wade is blameless in this matter. And if Drayton wants any hope of getting order back in the clubhouse, then Wade’s going to have face the piper as well.
And let’s just say I don’t see that happening. – John Royal