Saturday, February 25, 2006
The Genius is in the Stupidity
Phillies president David Montgomery is a genius.
Only a genius with the best marketing skills imaginable could have come up with this one. The public won't know what hit them. Montgomery devised the most clever of plans to cover the $94 million payroll that Phils have this season.
Before we get to the genius part, let's recap...
In 2001, the Phillies made a bit of a surprise run at the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. They were in the race until the last few days of the season and it was fun to watch specifically because it was unexpected.
Ever since, the organization has been, one would think, trying to improve upon that team to make it to the playoffs.
By the way, just about everything has gone wrong with that plan- in case you forgot.
Gone are Scott Rolen, Kevin Millwood, Jim Thome, Larry Bowa, and, of course, Ed Wade. Remember, Wade was the guy who shouldered much of the blame for the underachievement- especially for the 2004 and 2005 seasons. So Montgomery fired him and replaced him with Pat Gillick, a man with general mangagerial success in the past.
"Hooray," said the fans of Philadelphia. "Maybe this guy can turn things around!"
Since his hiring, Gillick has made several strange moves and comments. The Ryan Franklin thing still confuses me. He tried to move Abreu, but just this week said he didn't try to do it.
I, for one, have become confused. This guy sounds like Ed Wade! Wade was the problem. Gillick was the solution. How is it that they are sounding so much the same?
Let's also recall that the Phillies drew 600,000 fewer fans in 2005 than they did in 2004. They drew 600,000 fewer fans when they were in the playoff race until the final day.
Yes, Matt, you say, but where is the genius in any of this?
How do you get fans back in the seats, given all that occurred that is listed above? Do exactly what David Montgomery is doing this year. Put Chris Wheeler on the television broadcast for all nine innings every day.
That's right. Nine innings of Wheels each and every game covered by the local networks. How many innings of Harry Kalas will you get if you tune into a Phillies broadcast? Six. How many innings will you get of Scott Graham? Three. How many innings will you get of Larry Andersen? None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
"This is crazy! Wheeler is terrible! Kalas and Andersen are the best! They're the best anywhere! Why would they do this?"
All valid questions indeed. On the surface, it may appear as just another mindless move on the part of a team president who has done very little to remember during his tenure. But think about it a bit deeper. You are a Phillies fan. You go to a couple of games per year. Mostly, however, you like to tune in on the tube when you get the chance. But now, you are subject to more Wheeler, less Kalas, and no Andersen. It'll drive you insane. You'll turn off the game. You'll think that you will find other things to do with your time. But after a while, you'll start to wonder how those ol' Phillies are doing. Perhaps you give the television broadcast another try. Perhaps you don't. But what will inevitably happen is that your interest in the team and your loathing of Wheeler will come into conflict. How do you solve this problem? Hey, if you just go to the game, you won't have to listen to Chris Wheeler! There it is! There's my solution!
So more people feel compelled to go to games that to watch them. And ticket sales are on the rise...
Again, it takes a true genius to devise a plan such as this. David Montgomery should be commended. He has passed all blame for the franchise's failures onto Larry Bowa and Ed Wade. He already has Pat Gillick looking like he is confused. Now, this.
Only once in a lifetime does one get the opportunity for something so complex.