Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tri-City: Pay no attention to the moving men on the field

Tri-City ValleyCats General Manager Rick Murphy:

“Obviously, we can’t control what happens on the field. No matter what we try to do, that’s out of our control, given the way the minor leagues are set up. The Houston Astros (the ’Cats’ parent team) draft the players, they assign them here, they develop them here. With that being said, “we in the front office (assistant GM) Vic Christopher, myself and the 12 fulltime employees that we have all take it upon ourselves to control the things off the field as much as we can. And I think the data that we collect, and getting a better understanding of our fans base and knowing what companies and groups enjoy the experience allows us to be better informed when we put together our offseason plan and then go out and try to market the ValleyCats...

...There is professional baseball out there (on the field) and that’s part of the experience, but … knowing that you may see the next Dustin Pedroia, you may see the next Hunter Pence, the next Ben Zobrist; that’s really a message that we try to sell, whether it’s our guys, or the opposition’s...

It may be a future Hall of Famer, the Wade Boggs of the world."

What about all that losing?

“The level of frustration one could experience by finishing in last place three straight years could compel someone to think that sooner or later, fans will stop coming. But again, the only thing we can control is the relationship with the (parent) organization that supplies us with players...

...The nice thing about signing two-year PDCs (Player Development Contracts) is that you do have an opportunity at the end of each term to evaluate whether or not the major league affiliate is philosophically aligned with our philosophy.

With that being said, I don’t think that you need to win at all costs at this level. That’s not the makeup of our league. I would say that putting a competitive team on the field year-in and year-out is what we would look for from a major league affiliate. Finishing considerably out of contention this year – 18 games out -- and finishing in last the past three years, one could ask, ‘are you fielding a competitive team?’ I think the fair assessment right now would be, “no.” But where does that go next year."

“We’re going to be faced with a decision at the end of next year to determine whether or not the Astros are philosophically viewing this league in the same way we would hope, from an ownership perspective, would give us the best probability of having a competitive team,”