October 02, 2007

Eskin's Cognitive Dissonance

An entertaining moment on WPEN's very good morning show in Philly: A caller on Monday, the day after the Phillies won the NL East and the Eagles got crushed by the Giants, said he was looking forward to hearing what "that assclown up the dial" would have to say. "That assclown" is, of course, Howard Eskin, known for defending the Eagles organization in every situation, but never having a single positive thing to say about the Phillies.

Eskin, on his show, didn't disappoint Monday- first the host, who on more than one occasion has called Charlie Manuel the worst manager in the history of the game, felt the need to... chide the organization, for not yet giving him an extension. Then, he agreed with a caller who stated, and I'm not making this up, "the reason people aren't going to the park is because the owners don't spend money." Which is a totally true statement except that, uh, people ARE going to the park (they drew 3 million this year), and the owners DO spend money (an end-of-season payroll of around $90 million.)

Of all the stupid assumptions commonly held by Philadelphia sports talk listeners, "The Phillies don't spend enough to win a championship" is among the stupidest, second only to "McNabb doesn't have enough heart," "Ryan Howard should be traded because he strikes out too much," and "the Irish were slaves, too." The Phillies' opening day payroll of $89 million was 14th in baseball, behind such champions of baseball genius as the Giants, Orioles, Dodgers... and the Mets, who just lost the division to the Phils. The Amazins' started the year with a payroll of $117.9 million, nearly $29 million more than Philadelphia.

The truth is, spending money helps, and the Phils do it. But spending money doesn't equal winning, and smart personnel decisions are much more important than team payroll.

Posted by Stephen Silver at October 2, 2007 05:26 PM
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