Philly Phanatics are a tough breed of baseball fan. The Phillies, otherwise known as the Philadelphia Phillies, is one of the least successful of the original Major League Baseball franchises, posting just seven National League pennants (including back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009) and two World Series titles since its founding in 1883. The team earned its first championship in 1980 with the help of Hall of Fame players Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, its second came in 2008. Despite the team's history, the Phillies boast a loyal following among Philadelphia baseball fans at Citizens Bank Park. One of six partners, chairman Bill Giles owns a controlling interest in the baseball franchise.
The Philadelphia ball club, like most other sports teams, depends on a loyal and passionate fan base in order to generate revenue through gate receipts, merchandise sales, and broadcasting fees. While failing to win championships is usually the quickest way to lose that fan support, the Phillies have been blessed with a city of supporters willing to tough out the bad years. The team's fortunes have also been helped by its move from aging Veterans Stadium and into Citizens Bank Park in 2004. Citizens Banking Corporation (now Citizens Republic Bancorp) agreed to a $95 million, 25-year naming rights deal to put its moniker on the $350 million facility.
The Phillies ended an 18-year championship drought in 2008 when the team defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in five games. An attempt to repeat as MLB champions the following year was cut short, however, when Philadelphia fell to the New York Yankees in six games. The back-to-back pennant years came after several seasons of improvement under the stewardship of manager Charlie Manuel, who took over the Philadelphia dugout in 2005. Following the 2008 World Series, Ruben Amaro, Jr., took over as the team's general manager, replacing Pat Gillick who's contract with the Phillies expired.
Giles and his partners purchased the Phillies franchise from the Carpenter family in 1981 for $30 million. Robert Carpenter and later his son, Ruly, had owned the team since 1943.
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