Behind the scenes with Ed Wade
By Randy Miller (Phillyburbs.com)
Ed Wade screamed and cursed for several minutes, then picked up a chair in Charlie Manuel's office and whipped it across the room.
The chair smashed into a wall halfway between the ceiling and the floor. Two legs and chunks of wood littered the area.
Manuel watched the scene and kind of nodded his head as if to say, "OK, now what?"
This fit being thrown by a grown man was aimed toward to the scribe sitting across from Manuel's desk. I quietly watched in stunned amazement when the Phillies' since-ousted general manager showed off a hot temper that some team insiders suggest is legendary.
His reason for such behavior following a 6-3 Phillies victory over Atlanta on July 2?
Wade blamed it on hearing that I had told assistant GM Mike Arbuckle that pitching prospect Cole Hamels would be coming up from Class-A Clearwater to replace injured starter Randy Wolf in the rotation.
Not true, I told Wade.
That morning, Manuel did mention Hamels was an option. I phoned Arbuckle about something else, mentioned Manuel's comments and Arbuckle later called Wade to say: "If Charlie is thinking about Hamels coming up, we need to remind him that he's still in A-ball."
In a recurring theme from an eight-year tenure that had a forced ending last Monday, Wade somehow got the facts all wrong.
Manuel acknowledged talking about Hamels, Arbuckle was called, but Wade couldn't admit a mistake ... because what he really was mad about was a story that ran in the Courier Times two months earlier, one that mentioned Wade's job security not being so good and highly respected former Houston GM Gerry Hunsicker being on the Phillies' radar.
I never said another word to Wade since that unprofessional blowup, which was no one-time tantrum.
Late this summer, Wade repeatedly chewed out closer Billy Wagner - sometimes in person, sometimes over the phone - for comments he read in the newspaper and during contract negotiations. Wagner took this verbal abuse for a while, then got fed up and began hanging up on Wade.
Years earlier, Wade called a team meeting to scream at players. One pitcher said everyone buried their heads in their arms so Wade couldn't see them laughing at him.
Two springs ago, Wade was furious at Phillies beat writers, called a morning meeting and cursed for about 20 minutes. I still have the tape from that one. You should hear it. It's something else, right out of the Lee Elia school of bleeps. He got personal. Ask Philadelphia Daily News baseball writer Marcus Hayes, who remained calm as his character was assassinated and he was being called an officious [bleep]."
On a Sunday in July 2004, the day Eric Milton flirted with a no-hitter, Wade lost it in front of the Phillies dugout when Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Sam Carchidi asked him if "there were any trade developments." Carchidi, who does not cover the team regularly, was told with anger: "If you were here everyday, you would know." Wade ended the shouting match by saying, "Kiss my [bleeping bleep], Sam."
Dozens of early arriving children watched the entire incident from behind the Phillies dugout.
When announcing the firing, team president David Montgomery called Wade a man of character. Talk to others in the organization with the tape reporters off and notebooks away and you'll hear more stories of Wade's hot temper and how he often big-leagued team employees.
Wade couldn't even go out in style. While speaking to the media following his dismissal, he constantly vented. Without naming names, he blasted Daily News columnist Bill Conlin and other media members who didn't deserve his respect.
Right back at you, Ed.
This isn't about kicking a man when he's down. It's about shedding some truth about the Wade era.
No one doubts that Wade was a workaholic. He put in his time and was prepared.
But people inside and outside the organization talked about his smug personality, which is surprising considering he began his baseball career in public relations.
In short, the legions of fans who despised Wade not just because of his GM ability were on to something. Trust me, some Phillies employees and many media members grew sick of his antics long ago.
That's why when Wade made enough baseball mistakes to warrant a firing, the local media went after him.
But, Wade deserved his firing. For all his hard work, he was accused of not knowing his own team, let alone the 29 others in baseball.
One time when Wade made a judgment on a young Phillies player, a uniformed employee called writers over and said, "Did you hear, Eddie thinks he's a baseball guy now?" Everyone laughed.
When third baseman Scott Rolen was telling teammates, opposing players and Phillies beat writers there was no way he'd sign a contract extension with the team, Wade was out of the loop. A good GM finds out the real deal.
Wade also misread Curt Schilling, Placido Polanco, Larry Bowa ... the list goes on and on.
One of the worst-kept secrets in baseball was the work habits of a longtime Phillies major-league scout who had a reputation for leaving games in the seventh and eighth inning. Advance scouts are the eyes and ears of general managers. They feed info when trade talks start up. If Wade knew about the in-house problem, he didn't address it - not until making a change after the 2005 season, when his own job wasn't safe.
Wade is gone, and Phillies fans are right on when saying, "Good riddance."