The Philadelphia Daily News’ Marcus Hayes reports on Phillies GM Ed Wade (who might not be around next year) chastising reliever Billy Wagner (who also might not be around next year) for the latter’s critique of the paying customers (who might not be around tonight).
On Monday, Wade upbraided serial fan critic Billy Wagner for the closer’s latest salvo at the Phillies’ fan base, launched Sunday. Wade has performed the chore often this season as his sensitive players find themselves the object of frustration born of a 12-year playoff drought.
“I’ve talked to players before about – you can’t turn this around,” Wade said. “It has to be about the fans. People have a right to boo.”
Wagner was uncharacteristically surly before and after Monday’s game, refusing to talk beforehand and dismissive afterward. Wade didn’t begrudge Wagner his opinions.
“At the same time, I think it’s human nature, over 162 games, every once in a while, a player will get upset,” Wade reasoned. “But it can’t be about that.”
Wagner acknowledged that Wade spoke with him, but did not comment further on the matter, though he indicated that he believed that Wade, too, gets frustrated with the demanding fan base, but just can’t say anything.
Silence seems wise, what with attendance projected to be down about 600,000 from the inaugural season of Citizens Bank Park and the Phillies again climbing uphill for a wild-card berth. With the face of the team unlikely to change much next season – Wagner can be a free agent, but he would be the biggest loss – now is no time to alienate the people who pay the salaries.