The coolest moment this past weekend wasn’t the Philadelphia Eagles outlasting the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center … also known as Lincoln Financial Field West. The fan takeover was impressive, but expected, and the same goes for an Eagles victory.
The unsung highlight of the weekend was the wonderful, well-deserved standing ovation Pete Mackanin received before his final game as Phillies manager.
It delivered goosebumps and chills. It was an indication Phillies fan base felt admiration towards a manager who was never given a good enough team to win and never getting a full season to manage the likes of Rhys Hoskins, Nicks Williams and J.P. Crawford.
General manager Matt Klentak denied the 66-year-old baseball lifer of that opportunity, which just may be his final opportunity. Klentak officially removed Mackanin as manager on a Friday afternoon, a weak news dump that the Phils often do.
Even worse, Klentak tip-toed around every question without giving a clear, distinctive reason at to why Mackanin was re-assigned, other than it’s time to look forward because the roster turned over significantly.
Except, it turned over with players drafted or acquired under the era of Ruben Amaro, Jr. It turned over while Mackanin helped develop Freddy Galvis into a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop and Cesar Hernandez into a very good professional hitter. It turned over as Mackanin was managing a young, experienced, promising team to a record of one game under .500 after the All-Star break and 35-35 over the Phillies’ last 30 games.
What has Matt Klentak done? Why wasn’t Klentak or his boss, Andy MacPhail, asked how the general manager should be evaluated and self-evaluated?
That question should’ve been presented considering Klentak traded away a young, fireball throwing closer in Ken Giles for oft-injured Vince Velaquez and first overall bust Mark Appel. It appears Tom Eshelman was the prize of that deal, but he’s yet to make it to the Majors.
Klentak brought in Jeremy Hellickson, Charlie Morton and Clay Buchholz, who were either hurt or traded away eventually for more uncertain prospects, while overpaying for their services, or lack thereof.
Same goes for the biggest culprit of “The Klentak Rebuild,” Michael Saunders, as well as Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit and Howie Kendrick.
Unlike Mackanin and MacPhail, Klentak has trouble explaining his decisions because of his inexperience as a top decision-maker. And instead of MacPhail publicly mentoring and helping Klentak with his choices, the veteran baseball executive is giving the Dartmouth alum a lot of autonomy to run the show.
Point being: It’s time for Klentak to prove himself. It’s time for Klentak to show that he can do better than acquiring a veteran who will eventually be traded or injured. It’s time for Klentak to give a fan base confidence that he can usher this franchise into it’s next great era, rather than leave some worried he’ll ruin a prime chance to build around young talent.
Before I forget…
• Shame on Colin Cowherd. Now, you’re probably thinking that I shouldn’t give the hot take talk show host any of my time after he called Philadelphia the “dumbest sports city in America” because that’s what he wants. But, I’m calling out Cowherd because I’m a fan and frequent listener of his show, and am disappointed that a talk show host who is very good on national topics, would be so incredibly lazy, inaccurate and pompous. While I’m appalled by his lame taunt of the great Philadelphia fan base, I’m just as disappointed as an admirer of his program. When it comes to national sports talk, The Herd is compelling and makes you think because Cowherd often meshes sports topics and compares them to real life scenarios. It’s fascinating. His Philadelphia rant was amateur hour and incorrect. Andy Reid never “won” four NFC Championships, there is no jail at The Linc, the NFC East from 2001-2004 was not better than the NFC North in 2010, 2014 or 2016 and Philadelphia doesn’t care enough about college basketball to constantly criticize Villanova’s Jay Wright, which doesn’t happen. Ultimately, Cowherd proves how much of a loser he is by not agreeing to go on WIP’s Carlin & Reese Show. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
• Rather than go into a long ordeal about how wrong I was about Doug Pederson’s play-calling in the Eagles’ victory against the Chargers, I’ll just leave it at this- Pederson will start receiving lavish praise when he consistently calls a good game and contributes to the victory, rather than just getting lucky.
• Joel Embiid ran through the streets of Center City and was seen playing tennis at 25th and Pine. If he’s healthy enough to run on cobblestone and concrete, he must be well enough to play basketball, right? The optics are terrible and will be even more so if Embiid doesn’t suit up, or is significantly limited come October 18th. Is it cool that he’s not hesitant to openly run through public areas and include himself in the community? Of course! That’s not what he’s paid to do, though. That’s not part of “The Process” he tells us to trust.