Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article today that refutes some of what was reported yesterday but not all of it. According to Gelb, yesterday’s report was accurate in reporting that John Middleton has increased his share of ownership of the Phillies to 48% in recent months. And Gelb can also confirm that Middleton has become noticeably more visible, calling him an “influential and active voice among the ownership group.”
What Gelb cannot fully substantiate, however, is the claim from the previous report that President Dave Montgomery’s bout with jaw cancer was a convenient time for the team to move in a different direction.
Or can he? Conspiracy theorists, get your tinfoil hats locked on.
Gelb tosses in this line in his piece:
Another source said that Middleton, 59, recently addressed some team officials with the message that Montgomery’s situation would not be evaluated until at least January. The Phillies could then seek a permanent replacement; Dave Buck, a senior vice president for marketing and advertising sales, is viewed as a top internal candidate.
Until Montgomery’s health improves, or a decision is made on his future, Pat Gillick has, in Gelb’s words, “unilateral control of the franchise.” The Phillies released a statement today, expecting Montgomery to make a full recovery and return back to his post, adding “Over the life of the Phillies partnership no one entity or family has owned a majority of the partnership and we do not foresee this changing in the future,” in an attempt to quell the rumors surrounding the team.