Yesterday morning, Andy MacPhail, the new president of baseball operations for the Phillies, and Sixers/Devils/Prudential Center CEO, Scott O’Neil, took part in a panel at Lincoln Financial Field. The discussion was sponsored by the Rothman Institute.
Of course, this could have been a hard spot for both guys. The Phillies have finally addressed that they need to rebuild. The Sixers have been rebuilding for years. And, apparently, something caught the ire of O’Neil, who basically said we’ve lost our f—ing minds.
“I want to scream, like, ‘Are you guys kidding me?’ ” O’Neil said. “I would scream it. When people say, ‘You’re set back. You’re too slow,’ I’m like, ‘Have you guys lost your [expletive] minds?’ Like, seriously, this is it.”
Yikes. It sounds like this could have gone off the rails quickly. Here’s more from the Inquirer‘s Mike Sielski:
“I don’t know what it’s like in other markets, but this market, it’s a show-me market,” O’Neil said. “So I don’t think you can overhype. . . .
“I mean, I’m not trying to mince words, but what’s certain and sure? I can tell you what’s certain and sure. Okafor is a monster. That’s for sure, right? Okafor’s healthy today. That’s for sure, right? I don’t know what’s sure tomorrow.”
But there are ways to build marketing campaigns, and there is context. There’s a difference between, say, a free-agent signee who has played at least 80 games in each of the previous five seasons and a rookie who – no matter how talented he is and transcendent he may turn out to be – was injured when he was drafted and was always a risk to injure himself again.
“That’s fair,” O’Neil said. “But if you really look back at what we marketed, like, I mean, much has been written about stuff like the MCW thing – I mean, we have to do our job. I guess there’s a balance of how conservative do you want to be, and there’s a scale.
“I’m not into bull-. We kind of go with what we think is reasonable, and that time we thought [Embiid] was going to play this year. And it didn’t work out. It [stinks]. But we’re not, like, two-bit promoters. There’s no John Ringling. That’s not this organization.”
Can’t deny this from O’Neil. This group really truly believes in what it’s doing. Is that admirable? Maybe. Okafor is really the only light at the end of the tunnel right now. Saric? Maybe. But, honestly, if he’s getting so upset at the fans who actually pay money to see his team on the court wanting a better product, then his ire is focused in the wrong direction.