It was the kind of comment that makes you pause and say, “Come again?”
The latest from Philadelphia Phillies’ CEO David Montgomery is that he thinks a complete rebuild would have a negative impact on attendance. That’s a pretty scary statement that indicates the top guy in the company is out of touch with reality and cannot speak well for the future of the organization.
Montgomery needs only to look out his office window on game days where he has a pretty good view of what the attendance is now. The Phillies are in last place and, after being swept at home by the Atlanta Braves, are now in baseball’s no-man’s land.
The Phillies have seven members of the current team on the DL, and that’s not a coincidence given the fact that they are the oldest team in baseball. Keeping that age profile is not going to help attendance, no matter what Montgomery says.
According to Baseball Reference, the Phillies have seen the largest drop in average attendance between 2013 and this year, having seen 8,265 fewer fans this year than last. The next-worst attendance drop belongs to the Blue Jays, down 4,635 on average. The worst part of it all is that Montgomery thinks holding on to the present model of faded stars is going to keep the present trend from going downward even further.
Whatever worked before does not work now. The mere suggestion that fans are more likely to stay to watch aging veterans finish in last place over young and potentially productive future Phillies doing the same could mean that the team’s position is not to rebuild but to keep plodding along.
The Phillies need a complete overhaul, and Montgomery’s comments indicate that probably means from the top guy down. Sadly, that doesn’t appear to be likely.