The voices Buster Olney hears whenever he is all by himself and refers to as "the industry" have started telling him that the alterations made to the Philadelphia Phillies this winter have been pretty all right.
The industry praise for the moves the Phillies have been making this winter, from the Giles trade to front office hires, has been growing.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 8, 2016
I'm picturing one of those scenes in old movies when a ton of people are all calling each other and the shot breaks into two different squares, then four, until there's like a whole town talking about the same thing. Only everyone is saying "Andy MacPhail has surrounded himself with many executives who have had a hand in his success elsewhere!" I have no idea what the rest of the plot of the movie I'm describing would be to provide context, sorry.
It's hard not to like what the Phillies have done so far, mostly because none of it has been forced to translate onto an actual baseball field yet. Also mostly because they've done a few things that their predecessors might not have done. Doesn't it seem like just last week that we were all still desperately pumping the well for Ruben Amaro joke material, but knowing that it had been dry for a long time, and the whole scenario was a hallucination brought on by intense thirst?
Yes, it does. Now, though, you can't click a link without somebody referencing how great they think the Phillies leadership is. Hey, how about that David Montgomery?
And while loyalty is a double-edged sword when it comes to Montgomery - he stayed too long with homegrown GMs Ed Wade and Ruben Amaro Jr., for example - he is also the man most responsible for bringing in Pat Gillick, and for a sea change when it comes to how this organization is perceived on both a local and national stage.
Despite that, he has been slighted, in my view, by faint praise - or none at all.
You know what? You're right! It sort of felt like life with those former GMs would go on forever, and at the time, the offense was unforgivable, according to reports from everyone on a SEPTA bus once. But we're still in the honeymoon phase with Matt Klentak - there won't be a web site dedicated solely to demanding his dismissal due to his lack of finding a role for Darin Ruf until the Phillies lose a few games. Hell, I'm seeing the silver lining in everything right now! Chip Kelly didn't ruin the Eagles! He just assembled a ton of power, traded all the good players away, and was then forced out, leaving the team in shambles!
But it wasn't too long ago - well, July 2013 - that Ken Rosenthal was citing a Montgomery quote in his criticism of the team executives whose lack of a plan was plunging the team into chaos.
"So, when Phillies CEO David Montgomery talks about the 'tremendous fan identification' with the team's longtime stars entering into the club's buy-or-sell equation, I get it and I respect it. But fans can tolerate rebuilding, even fans of big-market clubs like the Mets and Cubs. All they need to see is a coherent plan."
That's all gone now; you have to put some real effort into finding anti-Phillies sentiment instead of just having it screamed through your window by the mayor with a megaphone every morning. All that's left out there is another poignant Philadelphia sports article ESPN slapped together about "times" being "tough." Did you guys know that all four of the sports teams around here aren't doing very well? What a learning experience.
Maybe this is a case of the narrative wheel spinning back around or maybe the Phillies have made some genuinely encouraging moves, and the rest of the media has finally caught up. Or, the rest of the terrible local sports options are making the one out of season team look better because right now they only exist on paper.