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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

8/14/22 : Just Sayin

The last two Phillies games against the Mets have been vintage baseball, both pitcher’s duels where starters went deep into the game.  They have had that tension that only is felt during a back and forth battle where each team is confident of victory.  It is reminiscent of playoff games where as fans we sit on the edge of our seats with both hopeful anticipation of victory and silent worry of demise.  It’s what makes this beautiful sport special - one that has lasted and evolved over lifetimes and generations.

While the taste of Friday night’s victory was sweet, to me, so was the makeup of the Phillies participants, six of the starting ten in the lineup ( including the pitcher in that sum 🤓 ) were players developed internally with three of the others in the lineup coming via trade where Phillies minor leaguers were the exchange.  I know that I harp on this but it’s something that is publicly discounted by many.

A few years back in player development there was an intentional cutover that introduced a more “scientific” approach to the equation.  The incorporation of more robust data analysis, biomechanics and targeted and defined mental and physical skills training enhancements were not met kindly by the “old school” establishment.  In retrospect in the Phillies approach it seemed as if it was a forced philosophical takeover.  It appeared to become an environment that was not conducive to collaborative spirit and management seemingly spent as much time resolving daily conflicts as it did in building an institutional philosophy.

But that change was both necessary and warranted in this fan’s opinion.  I’ve always had a progressive mindset but also realize that things such as experience and the knowledge that comes with it can be just as invaluable.  That embedded experience, however, can sometimes be a detriment to allow for trying new things and/or adoption of “evolved ways”.  As a fan who focuses on the minor leagues more than most I watched that conflict transpire to the point that it caused management changeover.

But even when changeover occurred the investment in the present and future path did not waver, rather a top down push of more collaboration was empowered, new personnel onboarded with the instructions of finding the “Phillies Way” as opposed to a square off of “old school” vs “new”.   

Baseball in itself is a beautiful sport and an endeavor that is truly loved by many including myself.  In many ways it mirrors life in its evolution.  What’s continually puzzling is the inherent and seemingly ongoing struggle to acknowledge that the game has always evolved and will continue to do so - e.g. that it’s not an absolute that successful instruction has to always come from someone who’s previously experienced the pro life - that there’s also great value found in those who’ve experienced and/or developed different understandings of the game.  It’s puzzling that folks say the current game is “unwatchable” yet they watch 🧐.  Change isn’t always effective but it’s also not entirely ineffective either.  There is a proper balance to be found.

So - long story short - it’s now become a regular occurrence, albeit temporary due to injuries, that at least half of our daily big league lineup is home grown - with ten of the current active roster spots occupied by internally developed players - six of whom are from the 2016 to 2019 draft classes. To me that indicates that the merging of player development techniques has indeed both established and is on a path to an adapted and evolved “Phillies Way”, a base that was built upon the previous growing pains, conflicts and struggles to get there - it will continue to evolve - as it should and as it must for ongoing success.

Maybe, just maybe it’s not such a bad thing to acknowledge both new processes alongside experienced paths as equally important outlooks - maybe just maybe that’s something we can all learn from - just sayin 🤷‍♂️

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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