As the Boston Red Sox prepare to host the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series, the fans of every other team wait and wonder about the future. In particular, Philadelphia Phillies' fans feel that their next playoff push could be years in the making.
Paul Owens (general manager) and Dallas Green (assistant farm director, director of player development, scouting director, and manager) were the architects of what became the 1980 World Series team. Ed Wade (a former general manager), Mike Arbuckle (former director of scouting and assistant general manager/scouting and player development) and Pat Gillick (general manager) all combined to create the 2008 World Series Championship team.
Steeped within the Phillies first 'golden age' and the team's second time in the sun was the belief that a baseball team must invest in the concept of time. Owens, Green and others worked through the 1970s so that the Phillies could take multiple runs at the final diamond prize. Eventually, Tug McGraw was able to throw that final pitch past Kansas City Royals outfielder Willie Wilson one jubilant October night in 1980.
Wade and Arbuckle developed the 'inventory' (a Gillick term for minor and major league player pieces) that enabled a second title to be won. It actually took years, rather than moments, for Brad Lidge to strike out Tampa Bay Rays' Eric Hinske. All students of the greatest game see that sharp point.
The Red Sox deeply impressive turnaround since last season and the Cardinals' revamp, post-Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa, offer divergent lessons, but the same final test result. Organizational attitudes must be in sync in order for any momentary, or lasting, success to be gained.
The Phillies' current atmosphere doesn't resemble those fond 1970s' days. It also hasn't generated the momentum that was felt in the 2000s. While each era had its own set of circumstances, the lead front office powers would be wise to implement every piece of advice that Green, Gillick and yes, even Wade have to offer. Experience counts.