Phillies' owner wants a World Series and a dynasty, the players are buying in

John Middleton kicked off spring training by getting the players fired up with his vision of winning a World Series and building a dynasty.

Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton wants to win this year and build a dynasty
Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton wants to win this year and build a dynasty / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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This Philadelphia Phillies team has come excruciatingly close to recapturing the glory from the late 2000s over the last couple of years. But the final, crowning achievement of winning a World Series has remained just out of reach for this current squad.

With a fresh start in 2024 and a returning cast that ran through Major League Baseball for the last few months of the 2023 season until they hit a wall in the NLCS, owner John Middleton has the players fired up with his vision of the Phillies franchise.

According to reports from NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark from the Phillies' spring training complex, Middleton has told players that he wants to win this year and for years to come.

He wants to build a dynasty.

John Middleton inspires Phillies, harkens back to 2008

Catcher J.T. Realmuto, one of the cornerstones of this iteration of a championship-contending Phillies team, told Clark that the team's owner gave an impassioned speech to the players to kick off training camp.

"It was basically go get the trophy back. John gave a pretty heartfelt, pretty emotional speech," Realmuto said. "He brought up the championship years but also the years that they just missed, and some conversations he had with players back then, and he just reiterated what he said to them. It was pretty passionate, pretty inspiring."

So the players know what Middleton wants out of 2024, but he also told them what he wants in the years that follow.

"It's time for the long haul. It's not just this year." Realmuto said. "He's wanting to build a dynasty and a team that wins for a long time, and we believe that's what he has done, so now it's on us to go out there and finish it."

Bryce Harper, Whit Merrifield ready to win now

While the goal for every team every spring is to win a World Series, some franchises have a legitimate shot at the title, and for others it's just a pie-in-the-sky dream that has zero chance of happening. These Phillies fall into the former group. It's a team built to win now, as new first baseman Bryce Harper spoke about on his first day at camp.

"We’ve got to win more games," Harper told the gathered media on Sunday. "And understand this is a window that we got to win in, and our ownership deserves that, our fans deserve that, Dombrowski deserves that as well, and we [the players] do too."

And it's not just the returning group of players who know they have a real opportunity to go all the way. Newcomer Whit Merrifield signed in Philadelphia because he wants to win. He knows that accepting a super-utility role with the Phillies gives him a better chance at a World Series than an everyday job with other teams, per Clark.

"I've been a three-time All-Star, I've led the league in hits a couple times, I've led the league in stolen bases, I've led the league in all these different things," Merrifield said in his first time speaking with the media. "I feel like I've proven that I'm here and I can play. ... I've done that. I want to win now.

"So I'm here to do whatever I need to do to win, to help this team win. Whether it's sit on the bench and be a cheerleader for 162 games — I don't think that's why they brought me here — but if that's what they want me to do, I just want to win."

We know that the Phillies have the talent. We know they've been so close without even playing their best baseball for a full season. Now it's time to see if the 2024 Phillies can put it all together and get John Middleton and the city of Philadelphia that World Series trophy.

And start the dynasty.

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