John Middleton’s Love of the Eagles Makes Me Like Him More

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

To this point, all we truly know about John Middleton as a baseball owner is that he says he wants his team to win.

He conveys both conviction and sincerity whenever he speaks about his vision for the Phillies, but, if we’re being honest, any owner can show up at a few press conferences to offer the masses assurances that they’ll do whatever it takes.

When it comes to Middleton, though, maybe I’m too easily won. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I believe him. I’ve long thought that there is a relatable quality to Middleton—to whatever limited degree the common man can relate to a person who attended Harvard Business School and whose estimated net worth sits at $3 billion. I’ve never been able to fully explain the benefit of the doubt my often cynical and wary nature has afforded him, but perhaps it’s rooted in his local ties, or maybe it’s just that he loves the Eagles. I mean, personally, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt if this is how you react to an Eagles touchdown:

That’s not a courtesy clap of the hands or counterfeit celebration done for the sake of being polite to the team’s owner who invited you into his suite; that is a primal eruption of excitement—one that was built over time through the hope, frustration, and pain that for years were the hallmarks of Eagles fans everywhere. Now that is relatability. Bob Brookover recently took a look at Middelton’s long loyalty to the Eagles that dates back to his youth:

We’d pile eight of us into a single station wagon with the fake wood paneling. We’d pack the hoagies, and me and my cousin would bounce around in the cargo hold in the back. My dad would drive and we couldn’t talk because my mom was reading the sports section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. She was reading about the game. We sat in section EE, right behind the goal post.

Humble beginnings. It almost sounds like a Sunday morning Ray Didinger reflection. Middleton also explained his differing approaches to being a fan and owner:

I’m less restrained with the Eagles than I am with the Phillies. With the Eagles, I’m really just a fan, and I can be more exuberant when something good happens and when something bad happens. You just let your emotions take over. And, my God, what an amazing experience that was. It was a catharsis.

While this story is a good look for Middleton and undoubtedly makes him more affable, his lasting legacy will ultimately be determined not by his football fandom, but by the level of success his baseball team achieves–and he knows it:

“I know we have a plan here and it’s a plan that is going to work.”

Here’s hoping, man.

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11 Responses

  1. The Birds bought the other 3 teams in this town a few extra years of irrelevance before people are calling WIP saying that the city has no heart.

  2. Just remember, as of 2 years ago, the Phillies were the most profitable franchise in baseball while also posting the worst record in baseball. The proof is in the pudding and the Middletons have given us nothingburgers so far, Until proven otherwise I will continue to assume that the Phillies are just a piggy bank for John’s “big shot hollywood producer” son to keep raiding whenever he needs to make another goddamn LEGO movie.

      1. Allow me to educate you about how high net worth families operate. He borrows the money from the family trust to finance the movies, then pays back the trust at like 1% interest while keeping the rest of the profits himself. Why would he finance the next one with his own money when he can just keep going back to the piggy bank I mean trust to pull out more loan money at a super low interest rate, and if the movie tanks, oh well no skin off his back, not like the trustee is going to cut him off with the phillies org making bank. Might be why the phillies are the most profitable franchise in baseball yet have made exactly 1 big free agent signing in the last 5 years.

  3. I was at the parade and asked every woman there to describe Shander’s dong since they’ve all seen it. Here are some samplings:

    “Huge”
    “Massive”
    “Throbbing”
    “Veiny”
    “Gigantic”
    “Humongous”
    “Ouch”
    “Oooph”
    “*Gets wet just thinking about it*”

    So there you have it. It’s official.

  4. Let’s pretend for a second and say the Birds didn’t do what they did, they got bounced out by Atlanta. How would the media/city/fans be reacting to the Fultz situation right about now?
    Notice how Brian C. dropped the latest news right after the parade, it was calculated for sure, knowing that it would fly under the radar.
    The number one pick forgot how to shoot. How to shoot the ball. He was drafted #1 bc of his shot. Craziest sh!t I’ve heard in my life.
    I wonder how his teammates perceive him. Are they clowning him? Supporting him? Being two faced, cool around him and clowning him while he’s not around?
    One things for sure, Ainge got his feet kicked up on his desk, sipping on Johnny walker black, having a chuckle. Everyday

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