Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Words to Live By

The Good, the Bad, The Phillies.

Following last Thursdays epic victory over the diminished Metropolitans, a misguided, miscalculated, completely insane idea permeated the small brain cavity of every Phillies fan in the city: We can do it. We can win. There is hope!! Let me be the first to admit to this foolish though familiar mistake, and also be the last to tell you it's gone the way of the electric typewriter, the home phone, and Friendster: the scrap heap of human evolution. We Phillie fans must change our way of thinking soon or forever be consigned to a lifetime of singular and spectacular pain, the kind of pain only the Phillies can inflict. Here's a brief recap of the week that was.

The Good: The 4-game sweep of the Mets was masterful theater; a blow-out, a come-from-behind, a frantic controversy, and a ulcer causing series clincher blew The Mets and their droopy followers out of Philly and back to the deep suburbs, tails limp and sad between their legs. This team, the Phillies, DOES have a lot going for it, namely an infield that borders on the edge of insanity. Numbers tend to read slow and boring, so what I will say is that collectively, the infield could very well end the season leading the league individually in batting(Utley), hits(JRoll), doubles(Utley), triples(JRoll), home runs(Howard), rbi's(Howard), and runs scored(JRoll). Oh and strikeouts(Howard). Imagine that infield with a real player at third base. Besides the potentially historic quality of those fellows
exists a team that is easy to root for. They have a clubhouse that appears fun, loose, and ethnically diverse, not to mention a pitcher with 12 fingers and 12 toes. they like each other. They root for each other. They are so good sometimes. So what's the problem?

The Bad: For starters, the starters. In closing, the closing. The pitching is just plain stupid. Rare is the game when they get a well-pitched game by the starting pitcher AND the bullpen and lose. It just doesn't happen; when they pitch well they win, when they don't sometimes the offense bails them out. Or they lose. A lot. What looked like a potentially nasty rotation, nasty like Barry Sanders in the open field, has turned into a different sort of nasty. Nasty like Colonel Sanders in a open field, with his pants down. Taking a dump. Yes it's bad, very bad, and there doesn't appear to be any cure for a pitching staff that can't get guys out. Up 8-2 in todays game against the Braves, Charlie Manuel handed the ball to his two "best" arms in the bullpen: Tom "Flash" Gordon and Brett Myers. Twenty minutes later the game was over, 9-8 Braves, season in peril for real. This lack of pitching, more than the cumbersome strikeout totals, questionable managing, and injuries to Utley and Howard, have been the reason for such a up-and-down summer. Here's what we must remember:

The Phillies: This is, after all, the Phillies we're talking about, the losingest team in the history of professional sports in this country and maybe the world(even more than the washington generals??). I soothe myself in times of trouble with the simple mantra: It's the Phillies. No three words can sum it up any better because really, It's the Phillies, and it's not so much the players on the field doing well or playing horribly but a bunch of guys running around in a uniform that I'm fairly certain is cursed to some degree. I love the Phillies and I've rooted for them my entire life, but when it comes to believing in them, well, I'll have to tilt my head and scratch my chin and take a deep breath and sigh. I understand my choice to be flawed. The Phillies are the cupcake that Bart keeps trying to grab even though Lisa has connected electric wires to it that shock Bart every time he touches it. As for this season, those who think it's truly over have no idea how this team works; it's not over, well, of course it's over I mean there's no way we'll make the playoffs, but the drama is just starting to take shape. We'll get back into the wildcard chase. We'll be close enough to touch it, just like that cupcake. And then we finish up the season against the Washington Nationals. Sounds good don't you think? Thinking that maybe this year is different? Just keep one thing in mind when we go to DC needing to win 2 out of 3 from the last place Nats to make the playoffs: It's the Phillies. Buzzzz!!

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