Jun 29, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA;Philadelphia Phillies part owner
(Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
1. NEW KING TAKES THE THRONE
Perhaps the most popular show on television these days is HBO’s sweeping epic fantasy drama “Game of Thrones“, which tells the story of a battle for control of power. Wielding power of the Phillies has been a controversial and sometimes anonymous group.
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For a baseball team such as the Phillies, there is perhaps no more important element to long-term success than dedicated, competitive ownership with the ability and willingness to compete at the highest levels of the sport.
Over the last few decades, such ownership did not always appear to be present and accountable with the team. The fan base was rightly upset as the owners, a virtually anonymous group with a figurehead in David Montgomery shoved out in public as their face, basically punted most of the 1990’s while allowing Veteran’s Stadium to deteriorate after just three decades of use.
Even as the team enjoyed tremendous success in the 2000’s, including opening the beautiful Citizens Bank Park and winning just the franchise’ 2nd ever World Series crown, it was seen more as in spite of ownership, rather than because of it. The biggest problem with that ownership was not necessarily an unwillingness to spend money, but more a blind loyalty to sentimental attachments to both players and management.
When John Middleton, previously a member of that ownership group who kept more to the background, stepped to the front as the voice of ownership at the press conference announcing the hiring of MacPhail back in late June, it signalled a turning of the page in that ownership group.
For years, many fans hoped and prayed that the successful, aggressive, and, let’s face it, younger (60) Middleton would somehow find a way to wrestle control of the team and take full charge of its affairs. Among those who hoped for that was none other than iconic franchise shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who stated the following per CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury:
“He’s a great man. I enjoyed John. Obviously, you guys know his fire and his passion. And all he wants to do is win. I’ve always said if there can be another Steinbrenner, it’s probably him. He wants to do whatever it takes to win. Him stepping forward doesn’t surprise me. I think it’s a place where he’s always wanted to be.”
That Middleton has stepped into the position of power, has finally taken the throne in the Phillies kingdom as it were, is clearly the biggest and most important long-term item of influence to come out of the 2015 Philadelphia Phillies season.