allentown is SOO correct on this! If there is one thing that has always driven me crazy about the Phillies, its their " we are team players in this league" attitude, as if that and a dollar don't still buy you a cup of coffee. He mentioned a particular situation, one that I admit I will never get over since it was soooooooooo organizational changing...the JD Drew situation in the summer of 1997.
The Phils were a sad sack team for most of '97 but any true Phillie phan saw that this was a team not without good young talent...Rolen, Estallela, Lieberthal, Schilling, Grace, Abreu, Beech, Bottalico and with a few additions like Drew, they appeared to have a promising future. In fact, at the July 31st trading deadline the talk ALL day was that the Phillies were primed to move ace reliever Ricky Bottalico to Seattle for a hot shot rookie outfielder named Jose Cruz Jr, a guy was having a very good season.
I remember waking up that morning and thinking, "maybe within weeks we will have a future outfield of Abreu, Cruz and Drew!" But the Phils lack of aggressiveness finally caused the Mariners to tire of waiting on the Phils and they traded Cruz to the White Sox for two relievers, future Phillie Mike Timlin being one of them.
And to make matters worse Giles and Monty kept spouting this "for the good of the game" crap whenever Drew's 10 million demand over 5 years was mentioned and they indicated privately that the league had informed them that they would be rewarded for their tough stand. I am still waiting for that reward....must have gotten lost in the mail.
Drew signed the following summer with St. Louis for 8 million over 5 years and had a good career. The Phils drafted and signed Pat Burrell, which would have only added to their stable of good young players. The Drew story was one of the 5 most foolish Phillie moves since I became a fan, it was unconscionable. Boras told the Phils before the draft...don't pick him unless you are prepared to pay him. They laughed and called him a "kid" and then had the audacity to send Lenny Dykstra out to recruit him. The foul mouthed Dykstra recruiting the deeply religious Drew.
Oh, that was guaranteed to go over well. To sum up...Middleton is sharp and I hope he is beginning to realize that the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs and Red Sox don't get punished by the league for thumbing their noses at the establishment, they get better.
And who knows? Maybe that long lost letter rewarding the Phils for their tough stance on Drew will finally make it to its correct address???