Phillies president David Montgomery doesn’t want to rebuild because attendance will fall

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The Phillies are in the middle of what appears to be their second losing season in a row, and their third without a playoff appearance. The lack of success with this expensive bunch of old and injury-prone players has led fans to believe that a rebuild is the best path forward to reattaining success.

GM Ruben Amaro decided to sign veterans Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz to contract extensions rather than trade them to other teams. Further, the Phillies haven’t — until very recently — been active in trying to trade Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon. The Phillies’ brass still believed (and still believes) strongly in the core that helped bring them success several years ago.

As Kevin Cooney of the Bucks County Courier Times reports, Montgomery is afraid to go into a total rebuild because attendance will drop:

“In 1998, what were we drawing? Where were we ranked of the franchises in the city? We were last,” Montgomery said. “When I took over, we thought it was a moral victory to go 44-46 in the second half and still lose 97 games, drawing a million and a half and we couldn’t get into a new ballpark.

“Some people say that the Phillies worry too much about attendance. Yes, we do. When you are low in attendance, the risk is only on the upside. When you are (drawing well), the risk is dropping any further. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid.”

The problem is that attendance has already fallen and will continue to fall as long as they trot out the same mediocre crew. According to Baseball Reference, the Phillies have seen the largest drop in average attendance between 2013 and ’14, having seen 8,265 fewer fans this year than last. The next-worst attendance drop belongs to the Blue Jays, down 4,635 on average.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to big league spring training camp

Eastern AA All Star Baseball
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
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The Mets announced that a handful of minor leaguers have been invited to big league spring training camp. Among them is former football star and current outfielder Tim Tebow.

Tebow, 31, spent last season with Double-A Binghamton. His season ended in July due to a broken hamate bone. Overall, he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs and 36 RBI in 298 plate appearances. While the numbers aren’t anything earth-shattering, they are certainly better than what many skeptics thought he could put up in the minors, especially at Double-A.

Tebow will likely begin the season with Triple-A Syracuse. If he performs well, he could get a call up to the big leagues in the event of an injury, or in September when rosters expand.