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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

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It really has been a bit of a shock to see the Phillies organization reach out to the community the way they have this offseason. I'm curious as to why you think they've made this specific kind of effort to connect with their fans this offseason when they really haven't done so before. Was it inevitable? Are they savvy enough to see their opportunity to strike now that the Eagles are somewhat down? Is it because of the new leadership at the top - how much say does a GM have on these kinds of things anyway?

Sorry for the boatload of questions, but I've checked out your site often and have become a big fan of your work. I definitely respect your opinion (and the opinions of the many repeat commentors) and am curious as to what you think is up. And don't worry, I'm not just complimenting you so that you'll respond to me. That's so bush league...

Wow, thanks for the compliments, xxx. I'll try to answer your question as best as I can.

The team saw a decrease of some 600,000 at the gates last season while setting a player payroll at $95,000 million player payroll. It may have been good enough for the fourth-best record in the NL, but it couldn't fill seats, and it didn't buy them a playoff birth.

These winter efforts have been pretty good publicity, simply because it's circulating the Phillies name at a time when they’re typically in hibernation. Just today, we saw several articles in the Philadelphia papers that wouldn't have been there last year. The tour is stopping in several cities, including here in Reading, where fan loyalty is quite strong.

So what's up? Well, they realize that being a baseball team in Philadelphia isn't enough to sell season tickets and club boxes. In fact, they're like salmon swimming upstream, because the current has painted this organization as one stuffed with empty promises.

I believe the Phillies are slowly realizing they need the WIPs, Chickie and Petes and McFaddens. The older, loyal fans they used to count on, year after year, are trickling away, and the younger fans – like the ones that hang out here – need to be earned. Once they figure out how (World Series Championship) they'll realize just how lucky they are to be in Philadelphia.

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