Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak made some interesting comments regarding the Philadelphia market during Friday’s press conference that announced the firing of manager Gabe Kapler.
Later on in the press conference, Klentak seemed to double down on his statements, while team president Andy MacPhail attempted to steer the conversation in another direction.
Klentak addressed the state of analytics within the organization and how embracing them can be a challenge in Philadelphia. He said that the organization will, at times, need to be innovative and get creative with how they operate. It is no secret that the Philadelphia market and fanbase has rejected some of these more modern-thinking notions and Klentak decided to acknowledge that in his statements.
“I think to be a forward-thinking organization, you have to be willing to take risks,” Klentak said. “And I know that is tougher in this marker than it is just about anywhere else. I know that. But if we want to do what John [Middleton, Phillies managing partner] has asked us to do, which is to continue to push forward and be a great organization that can compete year in and year out with the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros, we have to be willing to push the envelope at times. We will recognize the realities of our market, but we have to be willing to push.”
Matt Gelb of The Athletic then posed a question asking Klentak to further explain what he meant by “the realities of our market.” Gelb pointed out that the franchises that Klentak said he wishes to emulate and compete with all have extensive analytic use within their organizations. They are also able to successfully use analytics in big towns and markets.
Klentak clarified that the market is not keeping the franchise from success. He said that the team needs to continue moving forward in being an innovative and smart organization in order to win a World Series.
This is when MacPhail chimed in with his stance on the Philadelphia market, seeming to attempt to act as though Klentak hadn’t used the phrasing he did earlier in the press conference.
“I don’t know what your source of confusion is,” MacPhail continued in response to Gelb. “But I would tell you, from my perspective, this market is great… This market is not an issue at all; it’s a plus.”
Klentak then once again explained what he meant about the market. He cited Kapler’s reception from the fans as an example of what he meant.
“Kap had a hard time gaining acceptance. I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t know.”
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