As was reported by Jim Salisbury earlier today (much to the chagrin of John Middleton and MacPhail himself), the Phillies have named Andy MacPhail as president of business and baseball operations. He'll be in charge of the whole shebang, though Middleton mentioned that they expect MacPhail to focus mostly on the actual baseball part of his new job and not so much on the business side just yet. This will all begin once the 2015 baseball season ends -- until then, MacPhail will join the organization as a special assistant to Pat Gillick, who will stay on as president for the next three months.
That paragraph up there contains the reason why the press conference was called, but it was perhaps the least interesting part. John Middleton, Phillies part-owner, had a lot to say (and not say), and his involvement was probably the most significant part of this press conference. John Stolnis is going to do a recap and unpack everything we learned about Middleton later tonight.
This presser was a dream on almost every level. They weren't just saying words, the words were in the right order and seemed to have meaning and conviction behind them. Here are some highlights, plus some of my favorite tweets from today's glorious press event.
- Andy MacPhail knows what sabermetrics is, takes it seriously, and said the word correctly, in context, at least four times.
Numbers, analytics, sabermetrics. John Middleton loves them. Andy MacPhail loves them. Look for more of that in the Phillies' future.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 29, 2015
- The Phillies have purchased a custom built proprietary analytics system that will be installed in September. I'm not making this up. John Middleton actually said this.
Middleton: "It's just inconveivable to me that you'd hire someone who would just shut out a big chunk of information." I'm crying.— Corinne (@Ut26) June 29, 2015
- To prove the adage "You can't put a price on winning" (which is a saying I think I just made up) ownership is not going to put an arbitrary payroll number in front of MacPhail.
Middleton says the mandate to MacPhail is to win, and they won't put a budget number on it. This is the best ever, guys.— John Stolnis (@FelskeFiles) June 29, 2015
"You tell us what you need in order to win" oh my god I'm sobbing this is the best press conference in history— Paul Boyé (@paul_boye) June 29, 2015
I'm so happy right now.
- Pete Mackanin will be the interim manager for at least another few games, but that's all that the team would confirm.
Gillick says Mackanin will be the interim manager through homestand. An update will come later this week.— Marshall Harris (@mharrisCSN) June 29, 2015
- The names of Ruben Amaro and David Montgomery were barely spoken at all. In fact, I don't think Montgomery got name checked even once. And Amaro only got mentioned when someone asked what's going to happen with the GM in the future. Considering what a huge role those two have had in the organization (Montgomery had been president for nearly 20 years), this is not a small omission. The Phillies are moving forward, and it seems to be without those two. Excuse me while I throw a small parade.
And to wrap up, a few more tweets from our good friends over at Crashburn Alley:
The only way that press conference could possibly have gone better is if it ended with "oh and by the way, we've also acquired Mike Trout."— Corinne (@Ut26) June 29, 2015
I am feeling proud right now of the Phillies. It’s been a while.— Bill Baer (@Baer_Bill) June 29, 2015
You hesitate to oversell something that was just words, but those words are poetry to the broken, red pinstriped hearts we've got these days— Paul Boyé (@paul_boye) June 29, 2015
Are we foolish to be so excited? Maybe, but that's how this works. Baseball will break your heart -- but not always. Maybe this time, our excitement will pay off. I'd say it's worth the risk.