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Quote of the Day: Steve Phillips on steroids

Apr 5, 2011, 8:45 AM EDT


Sirius/XM radio has what seems to be part of some continuing employment plan for former GMs, and the latest enrollee is former Mets’ GM Steve Phillips. Yes, the man who was fired from the Mets for poor performance, fired from ESPN for shtupping the help and who sat on the deck of AOL FanHouse as it sank below the water line has landed in satellite radio. Good for him!

Anyway, last week Phillips was discussing the Barry Bonds trial on his show, and he had this to say:

“Thank God for steroids. It brought the game back from extinction.”

Um, yeah.

Look, I’m not going to deny that the home run explosion of the late 90s-early oughts helped the game a bit. I think it’s safe to say it did. But really, extinction?  And does Phillips really think that the game wouldn’t have rebounded regardless?

In fact, I’ve seen multiple things cited for baseball’s post-strike comeback in the 1990s. The wild card, creating broader fan interest in pennant races. The return to prominence of the New York Yankees and the reinvigoration of their rivalry with Boston. Heck, some people even think that Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games record was the turning point.

Or maybe there wasn’t a turning point. To the contrary, it seems that attendance trends show that the labor strife in the mid-90s was really an interruption of already-rising attendance numbers which began in the late 80s. The strike brought a trough, but after it was over, the trend in attendance continued upward at more or less the same rate as seen before the strike.

But even if you don’t buy that, it’s safe to say that just as steroids don’t fully explain the power increase of the period — thank smaller ballparks, weight training, equipment advances, smaller strike zones, thinning pitching talent and perhaps even a livelier ball for it too — they don’t explain baseball’s increasing appeal over the past 20 years either.

But hey: it makes for great talk radio to claim otherwise.

(link via BTF)

  1. Matthew Flint - Apr 5, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    I could never stand Steve Phillips. ESPN (while he was employed there) would trot this idiot out and ask his opinion as if I should give a shit. He got fired for being absolutley brutal at his job. I understand these jobs turn over quite often but if you got fired, go sit in the world of irrelevency. Not everyone who has been around the game qualifies as an analyst. Most of them are either there to kiss ass so they can get another job or say things that have shock value (hence this story) to get people talking about them. I just wish there wasn’t new guys year in and year out who have taken their broadcasting courses and think they should be on TV.

    Sorry, rant over!

    • royhobbs39 - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:28 AM

      “He got fired for being absolutely brutal at his job.”

      Have you seen her? Any action for her is good action…

      • Matthew Flint - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:31 AM

        I was referring to his GM job, but well played.

      • royhobbs39 - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:33 AM

  2. BC - Apr 5, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    So he’s the only person in history to be fired for bad performance AND good performance….

  3. purnellmeagrejr - Apr 5, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    There is no more jealous, backbiting group than Sportswriters.

  4. cmoore019 - Apr 5, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    You can’t really fault an idiot for being idiot. You can however fault Craig Calcaterra for carrying the idiot’s message to the masses. Must have been a slow day..

  5. Jonny 5 - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    So Phillips was already officially an ass. So what is this? Confirmation? Yes Steve, we already know you’re an ass, you don’t need to keep reminding us.

    Maybe the players getting high, drunk, and smoking much less has had something to do with better performance?

  6. professorperry - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    My favorite thing about MLB 2K10 is hearing Steve Phillips as the color man. It adds an air of verisimilitude when he says things like:

    – This pitcher likes to start out with a hard fastball for a strike!
    – (Curve, 82 MPH, Outside)
    – I’m thinking they are going to pitch around him
    – (Fastball, 91, Strike)

    And so forth. The way the computer simulation can get things as wrong as the actual man is nothing short of genius.

  7. dirtyharry1971 - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    The mets really should bring this guy back, they need him desperately right now

  8. bradwins - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    The only real problem I have with Steve Phillips is that he is not talented and not smart.

    OK. I guess that is two problems. You got me.

  9. jamie54 - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Yes, Craig, exactly. Thank you for making logical comments which just brings out the fact that much of talk radio is based on sound bites with no substance and the masses following along not giving a thought to the drivel they just heard. Sirius keeps running that sound bite and it’s just absurd.

  10. cur68 - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Baseball at the brink of extinction? Seems to me I read on this very site that someone (WSJ) made the case that 20% fewer kids are in Little League as compared to some unspecified time in the past (I couldn’t be arsed to look it up). Here’s a news flash; the birth rate has declined every year from 1991 to now. In fact there are 17% fewer children now than in 1991. Hence, if math doesn’t betray me (like it did the WSJ), there’s the missing ~20%; it’s not that they’re not playing ball; it’s that their mommies & daddies aren’t.
    Sirius, Steve Phillips, and the rest of the ‘baseball is dying’ crowd never let logic get in the way of their mouths.

  11. mrznyc - Apr 5, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    Another great Fred Wilpon hire – Sell, Fred, Sell.

  12. micker716 - Apr 5, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    A (former) MLB executive rationalizing the reasons for turning a blind eye to the steroid problem. I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of this.

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