Philadelphia Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. visited the Philadelphia Union last night, appearing on The Comcast Network's broadcast for a brief amount of time.
Amaro either didn't make the trip with the Phillies to Wisconsin - where the team has won the first three games of a -four games series against the Milwaukee Brewers with the final game tonight - or came back to Philadelphia to watch the Union. The 46-year-old also seems to have decided the Union more important for the night, as kickoff for the game was scheduled for 7:30 pm, but the first pitch for the Phillies was at 7:00 pm.
His first TV spot during the game was sudden and over as quickly as it came. Bob Rigby, the Union sideline reporter, was interviewing center back Danny Califf and Amaro's head was seen on the telecast. The cameraman readjusted his positioning and Amaro was fully seen with his blackberry in hand, standing next to sections 136 and 137 of the River End, where the Sons of Ben are located. As Califf walked away to head to the lockerroom for halftime, Amaro could fully be seen (see story picture) and then Comcast cut away from the area.
[UPDATE] Rigby interviewed Amaro as halftime winded down. Amaro talked about how soccer was his first love, his first organized sport and the most dominant thing in his life until he stopped playing.
"It's fun to watch our community really embrace the Union here," Amaro said of the Union's ability to draw fans and market the team in only the second year in franchise history.
That answer came after Rigby compared the Phillies to Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United, which he later followed up with a question of what the Phillies have to do to "bring it all home."
"It's about consistency," Amaro said, "it's about luck."
Two things that Union are sorely missing right now.
The Jewish Mexican-American has deep roots in soccer from his childhood, when he was considered one of the best soccer players in the Philadelphia area. Philly Mag detailed his 'almost' path to soccer stardom in a profile on Amaro on April 7, 2011:
And he was good at it. His father says it wasn't unusual for Ruben Jr. to score three or four goals in the first half of most matches, then retire to "parade like a peacock for the next 45 minutes. And I said, ‘Hey, if you're not going to play a full hour and a half, I'm not going to watch your games anymore. You are supposed to have respect for your teammates. You play the whole game.'"
Amaro was offered an opportunity to play soccer in Germany, where he would attend high school for a year and a half while the experts across the pond evaluated whether or not he had the stuff to become a professional. His mother, Judy, however, didn't approve. Being Jewish, Judy wasn't comfortable sending her son to a country with such an ignominious history, so Amaro remained stateside.