Tag Archives: Norman Dale

How Phillies GM Matt Klentak channeled "Hoosiers" at the trade deadline

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In the classic 1986 film “Hoosiers”, Gene Hackman stars as basketball coach Norman Dale, who takes the reigns of a rural Indiana high school team in the early-1950’s.

Hackman/Dale is an old-school coach, even for those long-ago days. He uses a number of tough-love methods, trying to mold his team into a winner despite a highly skeptical and passionate fan base in the local community.
In one such incident, Dale’s Hickory High School team begins a game with just six players. He benches one for disobeying his rules, and when another player fouls out, Dale refuses to allow the benched player to take the floor.
The referee approaches and says “Coach, ya need one more,‘ to which Dale replies “My team’s on the floor.
In this analogy, Phillies fans are the referee. Matt Klentak is Norman Dale.
Sure, leading up to Wednesday’s MLB trade deadline, Klentak had added lefties Drew Smyly and Jason Vargas, bumping both Nick Pivetta and Zach Eflin to the bullpen.
But Phillies fans wanted more. They wanted a co-ace to pair with Aaron Nola at the top of the rotation. Or at the very least, someone who would slot in as a legitimately talented, proven #2-type starting pitcher behind the right-hander.
Those Phillies fans wanted someone such as Zack GreinkeMadison BumgarnerRobbie Ray or Alex Wood.
And so, on trade deadline day, the fan base sat staring at their laptops, pads and phone screens thinking “Ya need one more.
But there would be no new ace added to the Phillies starting rotation on this day. And since are no longer waiver trades allowed during the month of August, there will be no new aces at all during the 2019 season.
Matt Gelb of The Athletic tweeted out that, in summary, Klentak’s position was that “We can’t trade our best prospects all the time. We weren’t willing to meet prices on better players.



Matt Klentak, summarized: We’ve been adding for the last two months. We can’t trade our best prospects all the time. We weren’t willing to meet prices on better players. Dickerson has a groin injury and will be “eased” into action.



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In other words, Klentak answered those Phillies fans as Dale answered the referee: “My team’s on the floor.
It remains to be seen what will happen over the final 8 1/2 week of the regular season. The Phillies rotation is certainly deeper, has more experienced arms in it, and now has a pair of southpaws. But will that be enough to help push the club to the postseason for the first time in eight years?
Dale’s methods worked. His team won the Indiana state high school basketball championship in the film, which was inspired by the real-life Milan High School team which had won the 1954 Indiana state basketball championship.
But Dale won thanks not only to his methods, but also to the return and excellence of a genuine great player to the team. Will any such player step up, stand out, and lead these Phillies to the promised land? Or at least into October baseball?

In wake of Mike Trout contract, Phillies fans need to move on and support their team

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Phillies fans are disappointed to not get a chance at Mike Trout

In one of my all-time favorite movies, 1988’s classic high school basketball film “Hoosiers”, there is a memorable speech delivered by Gene Hackman as coach Norman Dale.

He is a controversial new coach at the school and his star player has decided not to play that year in order to focus on class work. As the coach stands at center court to introduce his 1952 team, the crowd begins to chant for their star player.
Coach Dale’s response to the crowd is one that should be drilled into the minds and hearts of every team fan base at every level in every year:

“I would hope you would support who we are, and not who we are not.”

These six individuals have made a choice to work, a choice to sacrifice, and put themselves on the line 23 nights for the next four months to represent you, this high school. That kind of commitment and effort deserves and demands your respect. This is your team.
There has been much excitement and speculation surrounding the potential for the Philadelphia Phillies to sign local product Mike Trout when he was due to become a free agent following the 2020 season.
Phillies fans have wanted it to happen for years, and recent free agent signee Bryce Harper only fueled the fires after he signed with the club earlier this month.
I’m making $26 (million) a year, something like that, so I think that’s gonna be able to bring some other guys in as well that will help this organization win. I know there’s another guy (Trout) in about two years who comes up off the books. We’ll see what happens with him.”
That excitement was warranted. Trout is the best player in the game today. The argument is beginning to be made that he is one of the greatest players in the history of the game. You would have a hard time winning if you chose to argue against that point.
Trout is also a native of Millville, New Jersey. The town is just 45 miles southeast of Philadelphia. Trout grew up as a Philly sports fan. He tailgated at the 2008 World Series, has frequently attended 76ers games, and is a long-time Eagles season ticket holder.

It seemed like a natural fit. But it will not become a reality. Numerous reliable sources are reporting today that Trout and the Los Angeles Angels are now finalizing a 12-year, $430+ million contract that will likely keep the 27-year-old playing home games on the west coast for the remainder of his career.
Mike Trout has apparently made his choice, and that choice was to not play for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Bryce Harper made his choice. That choice was to play for the Phillies. He and his wife chose Philadelphia to build and raise their family.

Trout had $430 million great reasons to choose to remain in Los Angeles, or more specifically in Anaheim, where the Angels actually play their home games some 26 miles southeast of Hollywood. You cannot really blame him. But fact is, it was a choice, and he made it.
There is no need to boo Trout at Eagles games. He remains a great player who is from our area, and we should remain proud of that fact. I am quite certain that he still has and always will have great affection for the Philly-South Jersey area. But where baseball is concerned, that is no longer the point.
The Phillies have done a fabulous job in building a contender for the 2019 season and beyond. Harper, Jean SeguraJ.T. Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen join homegrown stars Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins to form the core of the team for the next few seasons.
The focus of Phillies management should now be on putting together a contract extension for Hoskins and Realmuto. And then in future seasons they will be able to focus their still strong financial position on other areas of need as those are revealed.

Phillies fans, it is time to stop dreaming about Trout to the Phillies. It is time to focus on the team that will actually take the field on your behalf. Many of them, including Harper, McCutchen and reliever David Robertson specifically chose to play here. They deserve our respect and affection. They are who we are on a baseball diamond. Trout is who we are not.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as Phillies fans should recall the words of Hoosiers coach Norman Dale