“Do you know the guy (Adam Dunn) doesn’t even like baseball all that much?”
Aside from maybe “it’s not a lie if we know the truth”, that’s probably the most famous quotes from former Toronto Blue Jays General Manager, J.P. Ricciardi. And it had absolutely nothing to do with one of his players, and it completely came out of nowhere.
For this week’s Flashback Friday, we’ll take a trip back to said incident which fueled the short-lived feud between Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi and then Washington Nationals slugger, Adam Dunn.
Compared to Alex Anthopoulos, J.P. Ricciardi was pretty transparent when it came to answering questions from the media and being forthcoming about information. As the figurehead of the organization, he certainly wasn’t shy about answering questions.
J.P. Ricciardi was quite famous for joining Mike Wilner following every Wednesday home game for “Wednesdays with J.P.” on the Fan 590 in which the Blue Jays GM fielded calls from everyday Blue Jays fans. The event in question took place during June of 2008.
I can’t recall exactly where this rant stemmed from, but perhaps J.P. Ricciardi was finally fed up with being inundated with suggestions that the Blue Jays should trade for Adam Dunn.
At the time, the Blue Jays were having particular difficulty hitting home runs, and as one of the most consistent home run hitters in baseball at the time, Dunn seemed like an ideal fit to fix that problem. Ricciardi didn’t see it that way.
When asked by a caller, Ricciardi released this unexpected tirade on the Nationals slugger (with quotes courtesy of Big League Stew).
“He’s a lifetime .230, .240 hitter that strikes out a ton and hits home runs. Do you know the guy doesn’t really like baseball that much? 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.”
Perhaps this was an attempt (albeit a very strange one) by Ricciardi to quell the trade rumours by revealing that Adam Dunn was a player they were not interested in. Not sure if “doesn’t really like baseball” showed up on his scouting report or if J.P. added that himself.
Naturally, the fallout from his comments came very swiftly from the other side as Adam Dunn was not very pleased about the Blue Jays GM tarnishing his reputation.
“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.
I don’t care about the perception people have of me, if anything
happens, it looks like I ain’t going to Toronto.”
Following Adam Dunn’s comments, J.P. Ricciardi went into damage control and reportedly called him to apologize for his rant on the radio. Ricciardi assured reporters he spoke with Dunn and said he was sorry, but Dunn claims he never received a call.
Then when asked if he could prove which number he called, J.P. Ricciardi told reporters he deleted the contact number and erased the call log from his phone.
We’ll never know for sure whether the alleged apology took place, but to take a quote from J.P. Ricciardi himself … it’s not a lie, if he knows the truth.