How many first names can you name? Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Last time I remember this happening: 2011.
Jerry Crasnick has written what is the first genuinely positive feature piece on the Phillies in years. In a well-rounded, 360 look at the entire organization, Crasnick notes:
Shortstop J.P. Crawford, catcher Andrew Knapp and the prospects acquired in Amaro’s flurry of trades reflect a deeper, more talented farm system. A new, $2.5 billion TV deal with Comcast SportsNet kicks in next year, and Howard, Ruiz and Lee will come off the books (with the exception of their buyouts) after making $58.5 million in 2016. The Phillies rank 25th in the majors in attendance and probably will draw less than two million for the first time since 2002. But apathy has yet to take root in the city, and it’s not outlandish to see Citizens Bank Park rocking again the way it did when the Phillies sold out 257 straight games a few years ago.
“That organization is a gold mine,” said one competing executive. “Look at the ballpark. Look at the spring training facility. Look at the television deal. This is a goose that’s going to lay a golden egg. No wonder Andy MacPhail came out of retirement.”
Interesting. Recent quotes about the Phillies have been more like “Amaro is an over-eager idiot” or “they’re the most antiquated, misguided big-market team in history.” Certainly, this is something I thought we might never see again:
The Phillies have even hitched a ride on the sabermetrics train. The franchise’s new proprietary computer system, PHIL (short for Phillies’ Holistic Information Location) will be up and running in September.
PHIL! Their SABR machine even has a cheeky name!
What’s more, Crasnick becomes yet another voice to whisper that maybe, just maybe potentially undead zombie manager Pete Mackanin – who has genuinely done the best job possible given the circumstances – could be given a shot to prove himself for another year or two while the Phillies are rebuilding (I agree he should be given the chance).
This is a great piece, the likes of which I forgot could exist surrounding the Phillies. The only thing Crasnick misses on is that line about apathy not having set in. I’d say that’s exactly what has happened the last three seasons, but, with the good times so near in the rear-view, it’ll be easy to get back on board once things start turning the corner. Perhaps that’s already happening?