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Steve Phillips (born on May 18, 1963) is a former Americanmarker baseball analyst for ESPN and baseball executive. He served as the general manager of the New York Mets from 19972003. He worked as a baseball analyst for ESPN from 2005 until his dismissal on October 25, 2009 after admitting to having sex multiple times with a production assistant at the network.

Early life

Phillips was offered a football scholarship to Northwestern Universitymarker after high school - he even signed a letter of intent - but opted instead to sign a professional baseball contract after being drafted by the Mets. Phillips attended De La Salle Collegiate High Schoolmarker in Detroitmarker, Michiganmarker, and later earned a psychology degree from the University of Michiganmarker during baseball's offseasons.

New York Mets

He joined the Mets' front office in 1990, was promoted to general manager on July 16, 1997, and was fired by chief operating officer Fred Wilpon on June 12, 2003 after a 29–35 start to the season. The Mets replaced him with assistant GM Jim Duquette on an interim basis.

In the late 1990s, Phillips assembled a Mets team made up of stars, such as Al Leiter, Mike Piazza, and Robin Ventura, and excellent role players, that played in the 2000 World Series against the New York Yankees. He is also credited with drafting David Wright, Scott Kazmir, and Lastings Milledge, and signing José Reyes. Additionally, Phillips is credited with acquiring aging and ineffective players with large contracts such as Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Pedro Astacio, Mike Bordick, Bobby Bonilla, Rickey Henderson, Kenny Rogers, and Jeromy Burnitz. He had an uneasy, if not volatile relationship with manager Bobby Valentine, and when Phillips decided to fire Valentine before the 2003 season, many expected the GM to be next. He traded future star, Jason Bay, and also attempted to trade star shortstop José Reyes to the Cleveland Indians.

Phillips is often erroneously blamed for trading Kazmir to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Victor Zambrano on the July 31st 2003 trade deadline. Kazmir went on to become an All Star, while Zambrano never made an impact with the Mets and was out of major league baseball a few years later. It was, however, Jim Duquette, Phillips' successor, who made the deal.

Harassment allegations

For a brief stint in 1998, Phillips took a leave of absence as general manager because of allegations of sexual harassment. He admitted to consensual sex with the woman, Rosa Rodriguez, who filed the suit, as well as multiple other affairs, but denied harassment and the civil suit was settled out of court. Phillips was away from the team for a total of eight days. The Mets defended Phillips privately and publicly, and the alleged victim's attorney was even quoted as believing in his sincerity.

As an ESPN analyst

Phillips was hired as a baseball analyst for ESPN prior to the 2005 baseball season, and was a regular on the nightly programs Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter. He primarily served as a game analyst during Wednesday Night Baseball telecasts through 2008, moving to the Sunday Night Baseball booth the following season. He also served as an analyst on Monday Night Baseball.

As an analyst he was critical of the Cincinnati Reds Rule V Draft acquisition, Josh Hamilton, stating that Hamilton, who had walked away from the game due to abuse issues, was being given the chance to make the major league team (through the Rule V draft) without spending the time in the minor leagues which the other players had, thus sending the wrong message to those players.

On September 2, 2009, Phillips' wife of 19 years, Marni, filed for divorce.

On October 21, 2009 Phillips revealed that he had been involved in an affair with a 22-year-old ESPN production assistant.

After an initial suspension by ESPN, Phillips was fired by the company on October 25, 2009.

References

  1. "Phillips let go by network," ESPN.com, Sunday, October 25, 2009.
  2. Phillips Divorce Complaint. New York Post, October 21, 2009



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