The major news last week that cigar magnate John Middleton has acquired a 48 percent ownership of the Phillies should have fans dancing in the streets. Middleton represents precisely the kind of radical change the Phils need. When he wrests total control of the franchise – and he will – there will be new hope for the Phillies.
Dave Montgomery has been a highly successful executive and a true gentleman for over 40 years in the Phillies organization, the last 17 as president. If indeed he has been left his job permanently, he should be revered for his good work, and supported by the entire city in his ongoing battle with cancer.
How poorly are the Phillies functioning as a business? Well, their attendance has plummeted 32 percent in the past two years from 44,021 to 29,924 per game, the biggest drop in baseball. Local TV ratings have plunged from 276,000 per game to 102,000, or 69 percent. With numbers like those, who wants to keep the status quo? Anybody?
A few other idle thoughts:
- Ever since Sam Hinkie took over as GM, the Sixers have been called the smartest team in the NBA, masters in the complex world of analytics. Well, last week, these geniuses released a 2014-15 schedule with all of the home games listed as away games, and vice versa. It takes a real Einstein to do that.
- For the first time since the 1970s, the Flyers will not have a goon on their roster when the season opens tomorrow night. This decision by new GM Ron Hextall will be regarded as a long-overdue innovation – right up until the first big fight. Then it’ll be stupid.