Friday, December 07, 2007

Giles tells all -- er, some

By Tim McManus
The Phanatic Magazine

Quietly, the Phillies confessed their secrets. Admitted to illegal behavior. Exposed why they are unwilling to up their payroll. Gave their true feelings on Ed Wade. Said they knew of Pete Rose's skeletons well before they were out of the closet.

Had this story appeared on the front page of the Inquirer or Daily News, it would still be the No. 1 topic of conversation since its release in late November. Instead it came from the Evening Bulletin, and continues to fly well under the radar.

In an interview with owner Bill Giles, Bulletin writer Chris Friend asks a series of questions, many focusing on the payroll situation of the Phillies. The Phils got in the playoffs and set attendance records...will that equate into more money spent to improve the team?

Answered Giles:

The fact that we made the playoffs does not impact us all financially this year, because we didn't go far enough into the playoffs. But where it does help a lot is 2008---we will sell more season tickets, and since our radio and televisions ratings were way up, it will help to sell sponsorships. So it does generate revenue for the following year.

And then the stealth bomb:

But all of the clubs have been asked to have a payroll equal to 50% of their revenue. That's what we try to do. Major League Baseball, up until two years ago, had lost a lot of money as an industry because our payrolls were 60% of revenue. We have been at 51 or 52% for the last three years. Our revenue is somewhere between 8th and 10th of the thirty teams, and our payroll is pretty much in the same range.

That's called collusion. Teams are far from allowed to have a secret pact to keep salaries at a certain percentage. The powerhouse players union has gone on strike for less. This is the type of story SportsCenter would lead with if there was more exposure to the story.

The money questions persist, leading to this response from Giles:

We are committed to creating a payroll that is between 8th and 11th highest in the league.

If that doesn't get you pumped up for 2008, nothing will. Four of the top young stars in the game, a small window to take advantage of their prime years, and you're concerned about staying between eighth and eleventh in the league? And say it like it's something to be proud of? Even though you're in one of the top markets with one of the premier fan bases?

Giles goes on to say that he had intimate knowledge of the Pete Rose situation; diminishes Ed Wade's accomplishments as GM of the Phils; and lends insight into when the ownership would contemplate selling the team.

All very juicy, if not alarming, revelations...that almost nobody heard.

Proof that the deliverer of the news is almost as important as the news itself.


Tim can be reached at

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