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When I Dream At Night


Larry Shenk
Vice President
Public Relations for the Phillies
Citizens Bank Park
Philadelphia, PA

Entire Phillies Management Let Go; Team to Be Sold

The following is a prepared statement from the owners of the Philadelphia Phillies: David Montgomery, General Partner; Claire S. Betz, Limited Partners [sic]; Tri-Play Associates (Alexander K. Buck, J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. William C. Buck); Double Play, Inc. (John S. Middleton); Giles Limited Partnership (Bill Giles). In keeping with team by-laws, at least two of the above-named have read this document.

PHILADELPHIA, PA: We today announce that after 26 years, we have come to the sad realization that we have no idea how to run a winning baseball team.  So, effective immediately, we have dismissed the entire front office team, as well as all on-field management.

And we are selling the team.

We regret the need to do this, but we can no longer deny the obvious: we don't know the first thing about the game of baseball.

We never thought it would come to this. When we bought the team for $30.18 million in October 1981, the franchise was among the very best in pro sports, with five playoff appearances in the previous six years, fanatically loyal and supportive fans who came out by the millions, and a deep minor league system cultivated by universally-acclaimed scouting and player development departments.

In the 26 years since then, we have been to the playoffs twice.  Twenty six years, including twelve in the wild-card era of eight playoff teams per year, and only two playoff berths.

For the first twenty years or so, we blamed our failures on beginner's luck. The key was to entertain the fans, after all, and we did that. Our attendance went down and mostly stayed down, but we sure got a lot of mileage out of the Phanatic and his darling red ATV. We remain proud of offering family fun 81 days a year (only twice have we provided any more than that) so long as the family didn't care about the game.

We'll never forget the good times. In 1983 our aging team claimed a World Series berth. Yes, the talent was almost entirely comprised of holdovers from the previous owners, but we did come up with the "Wheeze Kids" nickname. Joe Morgan has been nice to us ever since, and you can't capture what that means in the standings.

And of course, we caught lightning in a bottle in 1993. That team was a funster's dream: a bunch of guys who looked Just Like You, the fans, so long as you were fat, unshaven and chemically altered. Joe Carter ruined that party, but we tried to keep the good times going with long-term contracts we gave to Lenny Dykstra and Darren Daulton after that wonderful year. Sure, both were over 30 and had extensive injury histories--as well as pretty questionable judgment--but our intentions were championship-caliber. Our commitment to fan-friendly fun was so deep that we signed the warm and cuddly Gregg Jefferies rather than boring, talented old Larry Walker, and promoted (and marketed!) players like Ricky Otero. In addition to the excitement Ricky provided on the field, he was great when we needed small hands to unclog the groundskeeping machinery or when manager Jim Fregosi's smokes fell behind his desk.

We could talk about 1993 forever, and we have, but fourteen years is probably enough. Since then, we've won more games than any other team that hasn't made the playoffs.  That's kind of nice, but again, it's not evidence that we have any idea how to run a winning baseball team.

Given the opening of the new stadium in 2004--thanks for that, by the way; it's going to make selling the team a lot less painful as we recoup about 20 times the original purchase price--and the massive revenue influx it occasioned (thanks for that, too), this should have been a Golden Age for the Phillies. In the last few years, we've had probably the best shortstop (Jimmy Rollins), second baseman (Chase Utley), two first basemen (Jim Thome and Ryan Howard), and one of the best outfielders (Bobby Abreu) in franchise history.

We've had great players for this franchise through our years. We've had two MVPs (Schmidt and Howard), three Cy Youngs (Carlton, Deny, and Bedrosian), two Rookies of the Year (Rolen and Howard), and two Relievers of the Year (Holland and Bedrosian). The current crop of stars follows other greats like Samuel, Hayes, Kruk, Dykstra, Daulton, and Schilling, just to name a few.

We've had all kinds of managers too. From the hard-nosed fan-favorite Larry Bowa to the player-friendly Charlie Manuel to the beauty queen Jim Fregosi; from the young Terry Francona to the old Paul Owens. Our records department even tells us that two guys by the names of Nick Levya and John Felske once ran this team. Who knew!

But while the players and managers have come and gone, the team has continued to avoid the playoffs like Rod Barajas shying away from a sliding runner. What's remained consistent?  We have.

So what exactly is our problem?  We're too stuck in our clearly ineffective ways.  Dallas Green still works here, after all. It's nice to remember 1980--the All-Time Pinnacle of Fun--and listening to his outbursts makes us feel young at heart. He's been the Phanatic of the Phront Office. But you can only watch him take a bat to a computer while yelling about the vapors and humours so many times.  The people we hire have no clue how to assemble a bullpen.  In fact, that's just the tip of the iceberg of what they don't understand.  The list includes long-term contracts, trades for front-line starting pitchers, free agency, draft pick compensation, bench players, modern medicine, marketing, and media relations.  (After all, the guy who edited this press release was hired the year after JFK was assassinated!)

At this point, the baby--in our organization, that's Ruben Amaro, who makes tea and distributes meds a lot better than he hit--has to go out with the bathwater.  We're sick and tired of being incompetent at what we do.  We should have realized this a long time ago, but we had our heads in the sand and our hands in your wallet. Finally, another season of high expectations leading to a team struggling to stay at .500 has just worn us down.

So, effectively immediately, everyone in Phillies management is fired.  The players will elect from among themselves a coaching staff to run the team on the field.  The bloggers at the Good Phight are interim GMs [this is my dream, after all].  And the Phillies will be sold by June 30 to the highest bidder.

We have failed miserably. We'll now take our money and go home to our mansions. See you in the skyboxes.


[With major co-writing by dajafi.]