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My Takeaways from the Andy MacPhail Press Conference

Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Middleton has great billionaire hair, photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

So the way I see it there are a few themes to come out of the press conference, including numerous reasons to be upbeat about the MacPhail hiring, and many reasons to be skeptical. Let’s break them all down.

 

John Middleton’s power move

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SO THAT’S WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE!

  • This is pretty much the first time John Middleton has made anything even remotely resembling a public appearance representing the franchise. On one hand, you’ve got to give credit to Howard Eskin for reporting last year that Middleton wanted to take a more active ownership role… on the other, Middleton called Eskin’s report – that he was seeking a majority ownership stake – “erroneous” and said he has a great working relationship with the other, faceless owners. Whether you believe him or not is up to you, but it’s clear that Middleton is becoming the owner of record when the question “Hey, who owns the Phillies?” pops up. Previously that role had been held by Bill Giles and David Montgomery, both of whom had ownership stakes.
  • Why today for Middleton’s coming out party? He said he thought it was important for there to be a face to hold accountable for the hiring of a president. No argument there. But it is strange to see Middleton-MacPhail-Gillick as the power structure, when just a year ago this would’ve been Montgomery and Amaro.
  • Somewhat impressively, Middleton kicked off the press conference with about 4-5 minutes of off-the-cuff remarks, with no notes, during which he mentioned the desire for the organization to better use analytics.
  • Billionaire has a sense of humor. At one point, when Jim Salisbury introduced himself to MacPhail, the new president said, “So you’re the one who broke the story!” Middleton laughed and remarked that Salisbury got him. I like it when billionaires laugh.

 

MacPhail positives

  • MacPhail seems like a genuinely nice man. Like, I want to have lemonade and crumpets with him on a front porch or assorted stoop somewhere. We’d talk about baseball, life, and probably the birds. Not the Eagles– just birds in general.
  • For real, he seems highly approachable, reserved, humble (maybe too much so) and analytical. I made fun of Jerry Crasnick before, but MacPhail truly does seem like a guy who you’d want to work for. He mentions that he’s spent the last three years away from the game with his then-ailing father and traveling the world.
  • As President, it’ll be his job to make the right hires and delegate tasks. From these initial impressions, he seems like the type of guy who would be good at that sort of thing. He talked about patience and how building a team is “like planting a garden– first it leaps, then it creeps, then it leaps.” He also talked a lot about listening. He doesn’t want to just hear you, he wants to listen. I can’t tell if he’d make a better lover or granddad.
  • Most importantly, he talked about embracing advanced statistics. Though he admitted he doesn’t always fully understand them (that’s fine– it’ll be the GM’s job), he said he was responsible for the Orioles’ “greatly expanded use of sabermetrics and statistics in player evaluations.” He believes you have to look at everything and should never leave a stone unturned, and that you have to balance advanced statistics with human intelligence. No argument there. “You hire people, have the young kids come in and explain it to you.”
  • Of using every possible angle, he said he was “amazed that people don’t do this stuff.” Ruben Amaro, who was in the room but not allowed to sit at the big kids’ table, presumably cried at this point.

 

MacPhail concerns

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Notes From Andy MacPhail’s Introductory Press Conference

phils trio

The Phillies just held a press conference to announce Andy MacPhail would become president starting next season. Here are the highlights, and all quotes should be seen as paraphrasing: Continue reading

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Joe Buck Quit Twitter Partly Because of Phillies Fans

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Buck and his wife, photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of weeks ago, Joe Buck was on Richard Deitsch’s SI Media Podcast to talk about his career, his father, social media, and his preparation for covering major sporting events, which now include golf. When the conversation steered toward Twitter and how Buck hasn’t tweeted in a over year, everyone’s favorite announcer said that he quit using the service because of the haters, and explained that having Twitter open during a Phillies-Red Sox game was just about the worst idea:

“I found that I was spending an inordinate amount of time either engaging the people that were giving me crap or kinda sparring with someone who was being funny back or you know retweeting or engaging somebody that was being positive. It was really everything. I think Twitter kinda breeds a lot of the negativity and I know when you’ve written articles about me there’s kinda an apology to the Twitter haters that you start with that always catches my attention” …

“When you’ve done enough games I’ve done. When you’ve done Phillies in the World Series both winning and losing, and when they’re losing it sounds like everything you say is a complete slam on the city of Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin himself. Or San Francisco the same way, and they’re always playing the Cardinals it seems like, and people put a sign up with me wearing a Cardinals hat saying how much I hate the Giants and they hate me because I love the Cardinals. And then I come home and the Cardinals fans are saying I love the Giants and I hate the Cardinals and my dad is rolling over in his grave. You just can’t win that game” …

“It’s easy to understand. They don’t hear it from their hometown announcers during the season. So when I’m chasing these little fires down, and having it open while I was doing a game. I was in Philadelphia actually, from what I remember, and I had the feed open and I was doing the game – I think it was Boston at Philly – and if you want harsh comments do a Boston/Philly game and have your Twitter feed open. And I started reading the comments and finding myself almost reacting to it, and curtailing what I was saying or an opinion as I was going through the game. And I was like what am I doing? This is a dead-end. This is moronic. So I was like, you know what? It felt like when I dropped an Astronomy class in college when I was failing it, I’m just gonna delete this from my phone.”

Hey guys, you did it! Congratulations! A lot of those Tweets probably told Joe Buck to kill himself or fuck himself or do something else to himself, but he logged off. Minor victory for you, I guess?

Kyle: I don’t get the Joe Buck hate. He’s very good. Maybe not always crazy excitable (though I feel that’s more commonly-held belief than reality), but I’d take him over Jim Nantz any day (for everything except golf). Or over dead-man-walking Al Michaels, who sounds about as excited to do a Sunday Night Football broadcast as a kid preparing for an algebra test. Buck and Tirico, all day.

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The Phillies Will Not Fire Ruben Amaro or Replace Manager Today

There are multiple reports now as it leaks out that, at the introduction of Twins hero GM Andy MacPhail, the Phillies will neither fire Ruben Amaro (not yet, at least) nor name a new manager to take the place of interim uber walking dead manager Pete Mackanininininin.

Buster Olney wonders whether MacPhail’s arrival will speed up or slow down trade talks. While Jerry Crasnick, who sounds an awful lot like he’s playing favorites right now, thinks MacPhail will “project an air of calm”:

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GTFO. I don’t care if MacPhail is the Zen Master, the Phils need a lot more than calm and control. Stability is all well and good, but if MacPhail, his eventual replacement for Amaro, and a new manager aren’t substantially more progressive than what we’ve seen from Gillick, Amaro and the brain-dead group in the dugout, then all the steady-handing in the world won’t do any good.

I get the sense longtime baseball people and reporters love MacPhail and are going to treat him like some white knight coming in to save the Phils. Maybe he is. But can someone please ask him if he knows how to compute OPS first?

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DAMMIT I WAS OFF BY 30 MINUTES!

9:14 a.m.:

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9:39 a.m.:

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So close. So, so close.

Can we get a fired Ruben with our helping of MacPhail? I doubt it.

UPDATE: Wowowowowow sounds like we’re getting a John Middleton sighting. Please tell me he’s bringing POWERS with him?

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#Phillies

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“Did Jeff Francoeur get this and throw it straight into the ground?” He did.

Some more angles after the jump. Continue reading

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Ryne Sandberg Resigns as Manager, So as Not to “Get in the Way” of Progress

murphy

A tearful Ryne Sandberg (and a kinda choked up Ruben Amaro) held a press conference to announce that Sandberg would be stepping down as manager of the Phillies. Sandberg said he made the decision himself, and with the looming front office changes “at the top,” he felt it was best that he doesn’t get in the way of progress. Amaro said the decision was pretty sudden on Ryno’s part — or at least the notice he received — and third base coach Pete Mackanin will take over as interim manager.

Sandberg said he had not addressed the team but would be doing so. The conference ended with Amaro reiterating that the announcement from Sandberg was “very sudden” and the situation is “open-ended” right now. “The biggest thing I feel right now,” Sandberg said, “is disappointment.” Sandberg continued, saying he’s been thinking about making this call for a couple of weeks. When asked how far away the changes Sandberg had referenced would be, Pat Gillick said he can’t comment on that,

Ryne Sandberg had a record of 119-159.

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PHILS NEWS POST

Keep it here. VIDEO LINK FOR THE PRESSER

4:02 p.m.: Shutting down this stream. More updates on the site as they come. I feel like there’s more to this story.

3:55 p.m.: Couldn’t agree more:Voila_Capture 2015-06-26_03-54-46_PM

3:52 p.m.: For real, this is so weird. No idea how to digest this.

3:50 p.m.: The 2015 Phillies: So bad, the manager fuckin’ quit.

3:49 p.m.: Somewhere, Charlie Manuel sits back and has himself a good belly laugh.

3:46 p.m.: SANDBERG’S RE-WEARING THE SAME OUTFIT FROM LAST NIGHT!

Voila_Capture 2015-06-26_03-46-42_PM Voila_Capture 2015-06-26_03-46-51_PM

Straight out of Office Space. Came in today, had a meeting with the Bobs, cut a fish open, knocked down a cubicle wall, and checked out. Does. Not. Give. A. Fuck.

3:44 p.m.: Just noticed Gillick isn’t wearing a Hawaiian shirt. This is a sad day. Gives Salisbury a stern “I can’t comment on that” in response to question about upcoming changes. The sort of response a source gives you when they want to say, “You can’t ask me that in public!”

3:41 p.m.: Sandberg says he’s been thinking about it for a couple of weeks. Dead manager walking!

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3:40 p.m.: They should let him keep crying and just fire Rube while they’re at it.
“I take my responsibility for things that are happening on the field, as well,” Amaro says.

3:39 p.m.: Everyone seems sad. Wonder if there’s something wrong with someone here. Ruben is holding back tears, it looks like. Sandberg says he told the Phillies at 10 a.m.

3:38 p.m.: Sandberg says he hasn’t told the players yet…. that’s weird if he really made this decision, which conveniently came on a Friday afternoon.

3:37 p.m.: Or MacPhail doesn’t want him there:

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3:36 p.m.: Can’t imagine Phils let Sandberg go out there and trash the on-field product in the passive way he is if the decision wasn’t his. Dude just straight-up quit?

3:35 p.m.: Phils claiming this is a sudden decision. Not succession plan really. Weird. Maybe he did resign?

3:33 p.m.: I call BS here.

3:31 p.m.: The stream is out because of course it fucking is.

3:30 p.m.RYNE SANDBERG “RESIGNS

3:29 p.m.: WHOA. RYNO IS PRESENT. HOLD THE PHONE HERE! Continue reading

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