Andy MacPhail sat down and described what he and his team had been looking for in a GM, such as shared visions for the future and somebody who specialized in scouting. "This is going to be a test," he told the audience and also Matt Klentak, seated beside him.
Klentak shuffled slightly and addressed the Philadelphia sports media, already envisioning themselves devouring his flesh, for the first time.
"I'm honored, I'm humbled, I'm unbelievably excited to be here today," Klentak said.
He thanked John Middleton, Jim and Pete Buck, Mike Stiles, and Andy MacPhail. He thanked Ruben Amaro, having known him since he came into the league, and recognized RAJ's actions with the Phillies over time and also this past summer. He thanked people with the Angels, whose front office has been raided by outside teams. He kept thanking people.
And then, he was the Phillies general manager. His past work was deleted, his files burned, and he was informed that nothing he had done before mattered - only what lies ahead. And he announced his plans.
"There are a few key elements I want to touch on. The first is discipline... we need to understand who we are, who we want to be and how we're going to get there."
"Process. In all areas of baseball operations, we're going to be connected. We're going to work together."
"Information. We want to be the best at everything that we do. We want to have the best scouts in the field, we want to have the best coaches, we want to have the best players, and we will."
"Culture. One thing I know is that we can't force culture, but what we can do is we can build an environment."
"If we're successful is those first four points , we will do a lot of winning... that's why I'm here. I wouldn't have left Mike Trout in his prime if I didn't believe we could win here."
It became clear that Klentak was speaking in a special code for the fans, as the more insightful of us were able to put together given his specific terminology:
Klentak also mentioned "COMMUNICATION" as a tent pole of his mindset, responding to a question about baseball's secret war between new-school nerds and old-school Larry Bowas. "There are no secrets here," he said.
He cited his work in the league office, rebuilding with the Orioles, and winning with the Angels as a versatile resume that made him perfect for this job with the Phillies. Stressing discipline again, he said when he and MacPhail lost in Baltimore they at least "did it the right way." He also claimed the Orioles did in fact get where they were trying to take them, just, you know, a year after he and MacPhail were both gone.
There was little he could say negatively about the Phillies - on the day he was hired, probably smart to keep the Ruben-esque barbs about players and fans to a minimum - and praised the young stars in the team's system, giving exciting, ambiguous descriptions of how soon they will all be up and playing for the Phillies, saving the city from utter destruction.
"I try to create and strike balance in everything that I do," Klentak said. He credited the team's previous scouting for its success from 2007-11. "But we also need to make sure that we are gathering all the information at our disposal. Some of that may come in an analytical form."
GASP. But we already knew that, and it remains good news that the Phillies plan to at least act like they have heard of modern statistics in their development of the future.
"I have very ambitious goals," Klentak said. "I want to win."
Indeed. Today, a city learns its new war cry: "DPICW!" Or whatever word that spells. Whatever, just start making the t-shirts. Speaking of nonsense words, Klentak already has one SHANF of approval.
Klentak mentioned than Shane Victorino excitedly called him when he found out that he got the job.— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) October 26, 2015