After the debacle that Jeffrey Lurie has presided over this week, I think it is safe to say that John Middleton has officially moved up the power rankings of the Philadelphia sport owners. I can firmly say that Middleton would never put on a press conference using as many words as Lurie did to explain nothing.
Obviously, the Eagles are in a position that few thought we would see after they won the Super Bowl in 2018. Lurie, whos has owned the team since 1994, is in complete denial regarding GM Howie Roseman (or the son he never had) and it is clearly distorting the way in which he views the franchise. In my opinion, this type of drama from, arguably, the city’s favorite team is something that could become beneficial for the Phillies and Middleton.
Listen, the Phillies haven’t made the Playoffs since 2011. After two devastating season in a row, the fanbase rightfully turned its attention to the man in charge. A once proud group of fans, myself included, were embarrassed to watch the product on the field. It got to the point where I didn’t think the attendance numbers would come close to what is expected of a Top-5 sports market city in the country. My confidence level in not only the franchise, but the people in charge, began to dwindle as this team lacked a clear sense of direction. The industry wasn’t sure that they would be completing the Baseball Operations department overhaul that they so desperately needed, so many fans were left with bad tastes in their mouths.
When the Phillies hired Dave Dombrowksi, it gave the Phillies the one thing that they needed prior to moving forward: direction. Whether you disagreed or agreed with the hire, it was evident that DD would have his own plan to put this franchise in the right direction. Pairing that with the hire of Sam Fuld as the GM, and you are able to see that, while the Phillies will have new leadership in front office, they will have some continuity of people who have been here previously.
Phillies fans had every right to be frustrated with Middleton and Co., but the Phillies realized that they needed to make a change. The Phillies held people accountable for the shortcomings that this franchise has had over the last 10 years and took the necessary steps to try and change the culture. For that, Middleton has earned more confidence from me than Jeffrey Lurie.
I have talked at length about how this offseason is a pivotal time in the Phillies’ franchise, and by the changes made, so does the ownership group. The offseason has been a standstill for the MLB, as most people expected, which means there should be ample amounts of opportunities to make this team better going in to 2021. J.T. Realmuto still remains out on the market and should be the next item on DD’s to do list. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury also reported that the Phillies have ‘remained in contact’ with SS Didi Gregorius, which is not something I expected to occur when free agency started. The way the market is developing, though, it seems at least plausible that the Phillies could resign BOTH Realmuto and Gregorius.
Signing both players to contracts, while using the leftover funds to be throw at the bullpen, makes this offseason a win for the Phillies in my book.
An offseason that started with so much pessimism could be turned around as quickly as it started. Getting those deals done will bring back aboard many of the fans that jumped ship and, with uncertainty around the Eagles, could draw more people to the team. There is a lot of time between now and the start of the season, but the Phillies have not only a opportunity to be very savvy on the market, but also to win back some of the many hearts they have lost recently.
I didn’t think I would ever be saying this, but maybe it’s time for the Eagles to start taking cues from the Phillies.
Tape and band-aids can’t fix something that is fundamentally flawed.