July 10, 2006

In Defense of Bill Giles

The 71-year-old Phillies co-owner did an interview with the Inquirer's Todd Zolecki tonight that has the WIP folks going absolutely apeshit, thereby proving his point for him:

"Too many people believe the talk shows are the pulse of the public, and I don't happen to believe that at all. There are crazy people that call in and the announcers create a perception, but I don't believe it. I just don't think the public... I know so many people that are dyed in the wool Phillies fans who love the team, win, lose or draw... I think negative talk shows are negative to the performance of all things. I really do. I really feel that way. Somebody said since Liberty Place 1 and 2 have gone above William Penn's hat that nobody has won a championship in Philadelphia. I think talk shows are an issue with some of the players. The players listen to it and hear about it. I don't think it's a positive influence on winning any game, whether it be hockey or basketball or baseball or whatever."
Yes. exactly.

On the question of why Philadelphia has gone 23 years, the longest of any city with all four sports, without winning a championship, the sports radio host/caller consensus is the following: The players suck, the coaches suck, the owners suck, the executives suck, and the media sucks. But the fans can do no wrong whatsoever.

I'm not saying the players and owners and everybody else don't bare some, if not most, responsibility for the long drought. But can it possibly be a coincidence that the city with the most hostile fans in the country has also gone the longest without a championship? Don't you think maybe getting told they suck all the time isn't good for the local teams?

And yes, Giles is right that the angry talk show callers don't represent the fans as a whole. Clearly, those who call into talk radio are those who feel the strongest, and feel the most negative (no one ever called WIP to say "Gee, Ryan Howard did great tonight!") That's the nature of the medium. I learned this, after two weeks of hearing callers vow to never again attend a Phillies game, when I went to a game last week and the crowds were at about pre-Myers levels.

And finally, if fans are ripping players and owners constantly, why the hell shouldn't players or owners be able to rip them back? Why is that such an outrage?

I'm guessing Giles was talking out of school in this regard, since he was forced out as majority owner years ago, and his comments probably aren't the viewpoint that the ownership group wants out there. But regardless, I'm still glad he said it.

UPDATE: I posted this before reading the entire interview. While I stand by what I said about Giles' comments on the Philadelphia fans, it should go without saying that I do not agree with his contention that Brett Myers didn't really hit his wife, and do agree that Giles deserves to be put through the wringer for saying such a thing.

Posted by Stephen Silver at July 10, 2006 06:47 PM

You've got to be kidding me. You are taking the side of a guy who in the same interview as mush as the victim of domestic violence a liar?

Posted by: rubylegs at July 10, 2006 11:45 PM

Bill Giles is a good guy. He just said some stupid things. It is OK to defend him on his frustration about being ripped, and WIP is pretty tough, but I definately agree with you on the myers comments. They are indefensible. Bill has a reputation for honesty, but those can't really be his true thoughts. If they are I wouldn't want to count on him as a witness in court.

Posted by: craig berger at July 12, 2006 12:28 AM
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