MLB Notebook: Phillies GM Gillick to retire, after his team's playoff run
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Philadelphia Phillies general manager Pat Gillick is sticking to his promise.
Gillick said last fall that he planned to leave the Phillies on Oct. 31 of this year, when his current three-year contract expires. That is still the plan, Gillick said yesterday.
"I haven't been home a lot in the last 10 years," said Gillick, whose wife stayed in the Seattle area after the Phillies hired him in 2005. "It gets kind of old being on the road for 10 years."
Gillick won two World Series titles as GM in Toronto and has seven division championships and nine playoff appearances with three teams -- the Blue Jays, Baltimore and Seattle.
The Phillies are making consecutive postseason appearances for the first time since 1980-81, and are on the verge of a spot in the NL championship series.
"My contract runs out on the 31st, and the last game of the World Series is on the 30th. So hopefully we'll be there," he said. "I'm not really thinking about [retirement] right now. I'm thinking about this game today."
The White Sox fortunes now rest on two pitchers with little major-league experience before this year. But John Danks and Gavin Floyd have leaped from the back of the rotation to be crucial in the team's success, and even the most experienced teammates are confident they can avoid elimination in the American League Division Series because of them. "They're the two best pitchers we've had going all year," staff ace Mark Buehrle said. "They're young guys who haven't been in a playoff game, other than the makeup game [and tiebreaker], but they're our two best."
Alexei Ramirez wasn't even guaranteed a spot on the White Sox's opening day roster. Now, he and Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria are leading candidates for AL Rookie of the Year and are at the top of a strong group of newcomers.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said, "there's a new era of baseball players coming out," and "those two guys are going to be the key."
A Chicago native, Tampa Bay outfielder Cliff Floyd said "sometimes you have to pinch yourself" with all the good fortune he has experienced this season. A year ago, he was on a Cubs team that got swept out of the playoffs. Now, he's trying to knock off the White Sox, his favorite team growing up.
"We're in the playoffs, I have an opportunity to come back home and see all my people in the playoffs, up 2-0," he said.
"It can get better and hopefully it does get better. It's been a great ride for me."
Given the state of the U.S. economy, baseball commissioner Bud Selig warned team owners not to "get too cocky" and overprice game tickets.
"Because you do pay a price," Selig said.
Speaking before Game 3 of the NL playoff series between the Phillies and Brewers, Selig called 2008 a "phenomenal success" for baseball despite a decline in attendance that Selig attributed to bad weather and high gas prices.
But Selig acknowledged concern about a prolonged economic downturn and how it might affect the sport next year.
"I think anybody in every business is concerned," Selig said.
Selig was optimistic about baseball economics, citing playoff appearances by the small-market Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays as an example of the positive effects of revenue sharing.
First Published October 5, 2008 12:54 am