A Letter to Phillies’ Owner John Middleton

To John Middleton,

We haven’t had the chance to meet yet, but when you were set to take over as majority owner of the Phillies, I had hope that you would restore this team to its former glory. When you brought in Matt Klentak and Andy MacPhail, I was excited to see how a modern analytical strategy would help the Phillies make it back to the World Series. Five seasons later, and it feels like nothing has changed.

Sure, you personally brought in Bryce Harper. I had a lot of hope seeing that press conference in Clearwater. I applaud you for jumping in and getting the deal done. The Zack Wheeler signing was another great move. The Phillies are a lot closer to a World Series now than five years ago. But like you yourself said, it is a results-based industry and we have yet to see results. Analytics have been a part of the front office for five years now, and yet you yourself have admitted that the Phillies struggle with evaluating talent. You’re no longer an outsider mentioning that and need to decide if you are a part of the problem or a part of the solution.

Look at the Tampa Bay Rays, a team with the third lowest payroll in the MLB, and yet they’ve made their way to the ALCS with the best record in the AL and the best farm system in the league. That is the result of proper talent evaluation. If you are truly looking for someone to take over as president of Baseball Operations, it needs to be someone with experience in talent evaluation. While that would help long-term, we also need someone to help short-term. You’ve committed to making this team a winning team, and you need someone willing to make the moves.

But you need to be willing to make those moves too. I know the COVID-19 season is in the red. It is like that for every team. If you decide to cut costs in payroll, that would make sense economically at first. That is, until you realize that doing so would cut the Phillies short of the playoffs for the next several seasons.

John, the City of Philadelphia is blue-collar and loyal. When things get tough, we double down, and expect our teams to do so as well. We love an underdog because they see adversity and decide to give it their all regardless. Even more so, if you double down, you will gain the respect of Phillies fans and they too will buy in. Want to know how to offset this season’s deficit? By ensuring that there are profits the next five years by putting a perennial winner on the field.

If you decide not to, if you opt for pay cuts and staggering the team on the field, then you will alienate Phillies fans. Attendance will plummet (comparing 2019 to 2021), revenue will stay down, and you will remain in the red.

David Montgomery understood this. In fact, he was overly loyal, keeping the heroes of 2008 around for too long and being unwilling to say goodbye to Ruben Amaro Jr. But fans respected him for that. That loyalty brought home the pennant in 2008 and was rewarded in kind with record-setting sellouts for years to come. Fans are seeing you let Jim Jackson go in the name of money and know that you are more worried about money than loyalty. So why should fans be loyal to you when you are not loyal to them?

We know you’ve taken a hit this year, but like Sylvester Stallone said as Rocky, “It ain’t about how hard you hit, its about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

So keep moving forward. Invest in this team, and the city will invest in you.


A Phillies Fan

Mandatory Credit – Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

6 thoughts on “A Letter to Phillies’ Owner John Middleton

  1. Ok talking as an Orioles who spent a lot of time in the Philadelphia area . The Phillies are a team that has more questions than answers . Bryce is one of the answers but around him you have an aging outfielder and an infield that has an aging Didi and questionable parts otherwise will Hoskins ever put it together is Scott Kingery the player we need and Jean Segura is just an older less talented Didi. So would I resign Didi and JT no not both. The team has too many holes they are not catching the Braves without more pitching bullpen and starting they are maybe not an all out rebuild but close

  2. I have been a Phillies fan long before John came to town. And it is funny how things change and still stay the same. I don’t want to hear about you don’t have any money. What happened to the new TV deal you got and all the money you made when they were winning you were printing it then 2 winner’s in one hundred years. We are a big city and TV market. Maybe it is time for you and the gang of six to sell the team to some one who wants to win. And he will make money hand over fist. The fans deserve better. And the city deserves better. Think back we need our own ballpark so we can put a winning team on the field .things change but they don’t. Don F from Philadelphia.

  3. If they chose not to keep JT and Didi I for one am finished with the team. Cause it will be obvious they are not trying to win.

    1. I’d like to say I’m thru with them also but really, I love the Phillies [actually the As were my favorite team before they left town]. Who am I kidding, I’d still watch them. I don’t go [can’t afford to and can’t walk anymore anyway] but on TV at least to check in on the game one in a while, while watching something else. I will admit it’s been a long time since I watched a whole game. Also, do you think “Klentak” really isn’t doing the same job he did before ? I think he’s still pulling the strings. They’re just hiding him so we think he’s gone. “Middleton” has to Sell this team for the Phillies have any chance of getting Better.

  4. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Pay attention to this plea from the fans. No offense, either do the right thing, or sell the team.

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