Matt Klentak plays Norman Dale at trade deadline

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak opted to keep his top prospects rather than deal for a pitching ace at the 2019 MLB trade deadline. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

In the classic 1986 film “Hoosiers”, Gene Hackman stars as basketball coach Norman Dale, who takes the reigns of a rural Indiana high school team in the early-1950’s.

Hackman/Dale is an old-school coach, even for those long-ago days. He uses a number of tough-love methods, trying to mold his team into a winner despite a highly skeptical and passionate fan base in the local community.

In one such incident, Dale’s Hickory High School team begins a game with just six players. He benches one for disobeying his rules, and when another player fouls out, Dale refuses to allow the benched player to take the floor.

The referee approaches and says “Coach, ya need one more,‘ to which Dale replies “My team’s on the floor.

In this analogy, Phillies fans are the referee. Matt Klentak is Norman Dale.

Sure, leading up to Wednesday’s MLB trade deadline, Klentak had added lefties Drew Smyly and Jason Vargas, bumping both Nick Pivetta and Zach Eflin to the bullpen.

But Phillies fans wanted more. They wanted a co-ace to pair with Aaron Nola at the top of the rotation. Or at the very least, someone who would slot in as a legitimately talented, proven #2-type starting pitcher behind the right-hander.

Those Phillies fans wanted someone such as Zack Greinke, Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray or Alex Wood.

And so, on trade deadline day, the fan base sat staring at their laptops, pads and phone screens thinking “Ya need one more.

But there would be no new ace added to the Phillies starting rotation on this day. And since are no longer waiver trades allowed during the month of August, there will be no new aces at all during the 2019 season.

Matt Gelb of The Athletic tweeted out that, in summary, Klentak’s position was that “We can’t trade our best prospects all the time. We weren’t willing to meet prices on better players.

In other words, Klentak answered those Phillies fans as Dale answered the referee: “My team’s on the floor.

It remains to be seen what will happen over the final 8 1/2 week of the regular season. The Phillies rotation is certainly deeper, has more experienced arms in it, and now has a pair of southpaws. But will that be enough to help push the club to the postseason for the first time in eight years?

Dale’s methods worked. His team won the Indiana state high school basketball championship in the film, which was inspired by the real-life Milan High School team which had won the 1954 Indiana state basketball championship.

But Dale won thanks not only to his methods, but also to the return and excellence of a genuine great player to the team. Will any such player step up, stand out, and lead these Phillies to the promised land? Or at least into October baseball?






  1. Rob Reyes

    August 1, 2019 at 2:24 am

    I get the part of not giving up prospects. Then why didn’t the Phillies try to sign Dallas Keuchel before Atlanta did? No prospects to give up. I don’t get it. You spent all that money in the off season to be in position, now you are cheap? Im baffled.

  2. pamikeydc

    August 1, 2019 at 8:23 am

    @Rob 1000000% agree w you. And I am baffled that, from reports, that they didn’t even or we’re not even interested in him

  3. Buddy Walker

    August 1, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Maybe a better Norman Dale analogy is when the fans are booing and chanting “We want Jimmy!”, Coach Dale comes out and chides the rabid fan base and sternly says, “This is your team” in a “You have no idea what you’re talking about!” condescending way.

  4. Jeff Orbach

    August 1, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Unfortunately, many of us feel in this case that “norman” Klentak doesn’t know what he’s talking about or perhaps more accurately what he’s looking at.

    • Keith (hulio)

      August 1, 2019 at 9:48 am

      Everybody is an arm chair manager can’t hit or pitch. it’s the players give credit to the opposing playets also they only human look at the umpires all the
      mistakes they make do they get fired. think about it i get just as mad but it’s life get over nobody wants to lose i tough my boys theres winning and loosing just do u r best

      • Phanatic

        August 2, 2019 at 8:17 am

        I can think of another big move that can be made and that is to stop going to the games. How have the Phillis been able to get away with being the most incompetent sports team in the history of sports since 1883? It is possible only through their criminal co-conspirators – a group of thugs known by decent and peace-loving people all across America as ‘the Philadelphia sports fan.’ The ‘Philadelphia sports fan’ gives aid and comfort to this criminal RICO organization called the Philadelphia Phillies.

        The nice thing about living in Europe until September is that I have not come across the ‘Philadelphia sports fan’- this half ape and half clown that lives in flyover country between Washington, DC and New York City. At least I haven’t smelled one yet. Shall I come across one of these people, I shall be sure to hold my nose, cross the street and seek the protection of the police.

        • Jeff Orbach

          August 2, 2019 at 10:23 am

          Well la de da…I guess you don’t go to many football matches in Europe then.

          I support my team, but I criticize them as well. Do us all a favor . Just stop.

          • Phanatic

            August 2, 2019 at 11:13 am

            Football matches in Europe are attended by a small part of the population (the lower and illiterate part, admittedly)

            I am curious about your word choice ‘my team.’ Why is it ‘yours’? Likely, the sad answer is that you were encouraged as a small child to root for this dreadful and incompetent and corrupt RICO organization of thieves.

            If I lived in Pennsylvania, and thankfully I do not, though I do enjoy parts of Pennsylvania such as Amish Country and other areas, I would contact my local state representative and ask him to introduce a bill in Harrisburg criminalizing the encouragement of minors (under the age of 18) by parents, step-parents, guardians, and other adults to be a Phillies fan. This bill would criminalize such encouragement under the child abuse statutes.

            When the child has reached the age of 18 years, has read at least 10 books on the history of the Phillies, and has experienced other cultures outside of flyover country, THEN and only THEN can he be responsible for his own decisions and actions. I suspect, and sadly, that the Jeff Orbachs and other unfortunates like him, were encouraged as children to support this RICO organization of thieves and incompetents.

            Now, that’s it for a while. I am taking my partner to dinner at a nice restaurant on the Right Bank where men will be dressed in Charvet neckties and not the local domestic terrorist antifa uniform known as the Eagles jersey.

            Bonsoir et à septembre.

  5. Craig Glessner

    August 1, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    One big move this team can still make is at manager. Hernandez cant catch Franco cant hit Segura wont hustle and they are about as aggressive as the Swiss army. That is allowed by Kapler even the other teams announcers comment on the lack of hustle and taking too many good pitches at the plate. This team has no emotion and that is the best way to describe Kapler. This is a professional sport if you don’t have a desire to win then go do something else

    • delmo

      August 1, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      excellent comment. Any execs who install a field gen’l with zero previous mlb experience are very suspect. As all serious observers of mlb with decades of knowledge conclude; Phillies need three new bosses to move forward to desired objectives. Four years of mcphailure spanning s. american academies, stateside player procurement, scouting organization wide, poor progress of on field team performance, total disregard for smallball tactics and players that never improve and even sometimes regress are more than enough evidence.

      • Jeff Orbach

        August 2, 2019 at 10:26 am

        I agree, it’s interesting my wife said the same thing about him. He reminds me of so many corporate officers , who know how to “manage” , but know little about what they’re supposed to produce.

  6. Craig Glessner

    August 2, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    The only one more clueless than Kapler is Phanatic. Your comments make me wonder if you enjoy sports or observing other men in neck ties although I must admit I watched scooby doo when I was a kid but not to admire Fred. Don’t like the Phillies that’s fine I said it before just don’t be naive (that’s a European word) enough to think you can insult the team and its loyal (something Europeans have no idea of) fans. GOD BLESS AMERICA, GO PHILLIES, and LONG LIVE PHILLY NATION I will be dragging my knuckles at the ballgame.

  7. Lefty

    August 2, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    I don’t get it. Isn’t this the same crowd that hated Ruben Amaro for giving up the farm to win now? I mean, it sure doesn’t look to me like were going to contend for the division, so now you want them to give away assets that may help us in the future for a chance in a one game playoff?? A one game playoff? To me that’s small minded and insane. They gave up enough young talent this year, sometimes you have to protect your club in the future. And no, Im not Matt Klentak, but I’m glad he held ground on trades.

    I do agree that they could have gone after more assets that only cost payroll.

  8. Jeff Orbach

    August 2, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks Craig! I wonder why our effete friend (a French word) wastes his time with vulgar plebs ( a Latin word), such as us. He should instead devote his time to his Hoi-Poloi friends. To quote William S. Gilbert from Iolanthe “One Latin word, one Greek remark and one that’s French”.

    Imagine being so miserable that you have to denigrate people who come on this website, to talk about our favorite team. Not superior , just insecure.

    I bet he actually lives in his mom’s basement. GO Phils.

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