Wilmington Evening Journal - April 11, 1980
Green confident about ‘We – not I’ Phillies
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA - Manager Dallas Green is a lot more confident about his "We – not I" Phillies than most preseason prognosticators.
A lot of you guys picked us for fourth and that's a lot of bunk!" Green said at last night's workout for tonight's 8:05 season-opener with the Montreal Expos. "Pittsburgh's the champion, Montreal has a good team and the Cardinals have a tough offensive lineup, but we'll be in there with everybody.
"We had a good spring training, one of our best, but we still have to do it between the white lines. Even if we have everybody back, without injuries, we still aren't going to have anything handed to us. The opener will tell us some things about what kind of club we have."
Green feels he got a few hints during the 10 days of the player's practice strike that prematurely ended spring-training games.
"Some of the other clubs had problems, but we had everybody there and it brought home some of the goals we set for ourselves," said Green. "The players felt the strike vote was an outside problem and that we still had some things we wanted to do."
Asked if his "We – not I" philosophy had sunk in with the three-time Eastern Division champions who finished fourth last year, Green smiled.
"It'll take a lot of I’s to get the we's straightened out," he said. "But I saw a team get off the plane from Florida Wednesday night They looked like a team, dressed like a team and felt like a team. Even some of the players mentioned it.
"The test of character is when adversity starts. Then we'll see. I know that and I won't let them forget."
The Phillies got some good news yesterday when center fielder Garry Maddox and agent Jerry Kapstein decided to extend their Friday deadline for negotiations toward a new contract Maddox had said he wouldn't negotiate beyond the start of the season if he hadn't signed a new contract.
Maddox said he felt "optimistic because they're still working at it. We were at an impasse at one time early in spring training, but I've come to 'em a couple of times – I've changed my stance and they've moved a little also."
Maddox took his swings during last night's workout to the cheers of a several thousand fans. He was fearful that his contract squabble, which included threats of trades and reports of million-dollar demands, would turn the crowd against him. So far it hasn't happened. And if a new contract is signed, all will be forgiven.
But maybe not forgotten.
"Something as important as this, I just can't put it in the back of my mind and play as if it wasn't happening," Maddox said of the continuing negotiations. "I'm still going into the season unsigned, with the possibility of being traded hanging over my head. That part of it is the same as it was in spring training."
Maddox parried figures about how much he's asking. Reports had him asking for $750,000, with the Phils offering $550,000 per year in a multi-year deal.
"I don't want $800,000... but I'd take it," Maddox smiled. "I'm not asking $700,000 either."
Somebody wondered if Maddox's original demands were so unreasonable and the outfielder shook his head.
"The Phillies said my original demands were reasonable," Maddox said. "What I can't understand is that, if they say I can get what I'm asking for and it's reasonable, why can't I get it from them?
"They just chose to draw the line. That's their right and I have to accept that, but it's still hard to understand. I think we could split the difference right now, but they weren't coming up in dollars what we were coming down in dollars."
While Maddox was extending deadlines, the Expos were talking about protesting tonight's game. The Montreal hitters said the new home-run tableau in center field – an artist's depiction of the Philadelphia skyline from the Art Museum to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, with stops at City Hall and Independence Hall – obstructed their view of the pitched ball.
"Dick Williams (the Expos' manager) threatened to protest the game," said Phillies' vice president Bill Giles, who attended the workout with a sign around his neck that read: "Plenty of Good Tickets Left." "I talked to (N.L. President Charles) Feeney and told him I couldn't find anything in the rule book against it.
"Anyway, we were supposed to have a 60-foot section of black tarps in dead center and we're extending it to 90 feet right now. If it doesn't work out, we'll move the home run show to the bullpens in left and right fields. I talked to Pete Rose and he said we'd be OK if we took the fountain part of the display down and stopped at City Hall.
Giles, who predicted tonight's attendance would range from 35-40,000, figures the home-run show will survive any relocations.
"The home-run stuff is done with lights behind the black tarps," he said. "We've got all sorts of tricks planned. It was done by the guy who does the light tricks for The Who. I haven't seen it yet."