Sorry for the lack of posts this week, I was on a quick tour of Dublin and Scotland. I left for the trip as the Phillies were in the midst of being swept by the Red Sox and the Brett Myers situation was unraveling. Returning today, I have found that our Philadelphia Phillies have spun even further along the downward spiral. That motion – accompanied by a distinct flushing sound – is taking with it, the Phils’ 2006 season. The news surrounding the club is almost all negative and will be near impossible to overcome to play playoff baseball. The Phillies have dropped 15 out of their last 18, their best pitcher was arrested and is out for at least two weeks, injuries abound (Lieber, Wolf2, Lieberthal, Santana), the starting rotation has been cobbled together with underdeveloped youngsters (Hamels, Mathieson, Brito, Floyd, Bernero, Madson), they are the worst hitting team in the NL, clutch hitting is non-existent, they are looking up in the standings at a 12-game Mets lead, the manager is overwhelmed to say the least, and the executives are too incompetent to fix anything. It is a disaster. It is also a shame because there are some generally good stories that undoubtedly get lost in the shuffle, like Ryan Howard leading the majors in homeruns, Chase Utley’s first of many All-Star games, Tom Gordon’s excellent return to closing, and even proof Bobby Abreu is one of the best right fielders in the league.
Faced with one of the most embarrassing months in franchise history, the Phillies – in the words of Al Morganti – have become a punching bag for the national media:
…Myers has become a secondary issue to the organizational mess that has become the Philadelphia Phillies. It has become an organization incapable of admitting errors, and that problem is exemplified by Montgomery’s statement…
Most of all, the fans have known all along that unless a major change is made in the way the Philadelphia Phillies are run from the top, they will always be headed toward the bottom of the standings.
Furthermore, Stan Hochman yesterday published some choice Dallas Green quotes including, "the Phillies are afraid of the truth" and "are scared to death of the media." We all know this is completely true: the Phillies are devoid of organizational transparency. The business world, of which the Phillies are increasingly less a part of, demands constant information by an organization in order that both shareholders (investors) and stakeholders (consumers) can make adequate judgments as to the health and prospects of the organization. Too often decisions are made behind closed doors and fail to take into account how it will be received, let alone if it was the correct one. Only when cries of disapproval are heard do the decision-makers occasionally change their mind – witness not only the Brett Myers fiasco, but the failed attempt to limit Harry Kalas’ time television prior to the season. Still, some close-minded decisions, despite pleas from every angle, remain steadfastly supported, like Ed Wade’s overstayed welcome or Charlie Manuel’s tenure. Of course, a company is entitled to make their own decisions, but when the wrong ones are consistently made and the fallout is mismanaged, someone has to wake up and recognize failure. Therefore despite my allegiance to David Montgomery as a fellow Penn alum, I can no longer support his leadership of the Phillies. You see flamboyant owners like Mark Cuban and George Steinbrenner and despite for all their micromanaging, you never have to guess where they stand on an issue. Until Montgomery and the ownership group start to open up to the media and the fans and demonstrate a concerted effort to make changes (an effort requiring more than hiring a former newscaster as a media relations puppet); I feel the Phillies will be a self-destructive organization.