The Philadelphia Phillies: End of An Era

The last two sea­sons have been tough in Philadel­phia. After a glo­ri­ous run as one of the best team’s in base­ball, the Phillies crashed back to Earth. Char­lie Manuel, a beloved fig­ure for any­one who’s fol­lowed the Phils, was tossed aside. Roy Hal­la­day, a play­er who more than any­one made Philadel­phia a des­ti­na­tion for free agents, retired after two injury-rid­dled sea­sons. It was a mag­i­cal time and now it is over.

The next phase is a famil­iar one. The Phillies will like­ly be hard to watch for a long time. With com­mit­ments made to an aging core and lit­tle to no tal­ent in the farm sys­tem, the boom has gone bust. For any­one who remem­bers what hap­pened to the team after 1993, we know what hap­pens next. It won’t be pret­ty, but we’ll still be in the stands, bask­ing in the ball­park, thank­ful for the mem­o­ries the Phillies gave us.

Introducing Amortizing Ryan Howard

Because the world need­ed anoth­er base­ball blog. You can find it here, where I will be Tum­bling about all man­ner base­ball stuff, whether it’s Phillies or not. (And, yes, this is my umpteenth stab at Tum­blr. This could stick only because I real­ly like read­ing and writ­ing and think­ing about base­ball.) If you can rec­om­mend any­one on Tum­blr who is a think­ing person’s base­ball fan, or even some­one who makes unbe­liev­ably hilar­i­ous .gifs, let me know!

2011 NLDS Phillies vs Cardinals

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Didn’t start or end pret­ty, but I can hon­est­ly say that what hap­pened in between the first and ninth innings were tru­ly inspired base­ball. Hal­la­day dom­i­nat­ed, the offense erupt­ed and Char­lie went wild with the ral­ly tow­el.

It was an absurd­ly fun night at the ball­park, punc­tu­at­ed by the lone Cards fan in our row leav­ing when it start­ed get­ting ugly.

Singing “High Hopes” as we left the ball­park is so sat­is­fy­ing. “10 mas!”

In Praise of the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Nev­er in my life did I believe that the Phillies would be the sort of dom­i­nant team fans link to the Yan­kees and Red Sox. The sort of team that “buys” cham­pi­onships. The sort of team that play­ers want to join, even if it means tak­ing a pay cut to do it. The kind of team that can win 100+ games and dom­i­nate the com­pe­ti­tion.

Want to know a secret? I real­ly thought 2011 might be a let­down year for the Phillies.

Acquir­ing pitch­ing is great, but there’s only so much pitch­ers can do to help win games. I feared that our aging core play­ers, notably Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jim­my Rollins, would make us vul­ner­a­ble to the sort of pow­er out­ages we’ve faced in the past and that the replace­ment parts wouldn’t be up to the task. I was wrong.

It was amaz­ing to watch this team cut through the oppo­si­tion no mat­ter who they put on the field. I saw Michael Mar­tinez hit a three-run homer. I feel like that encap­su­lat­ed what a rar­efied sea­son this was for a team whose expec­ta­tion is suc­cess. On the eve of the play­offs, I think I’m one of those who thinks that any­thing less than a World Series cham­pi­onship will be a dis­ap­point­ment.

The last two sea­sons have been heart-wrench­ing for Phillies fans. 2009 end­ed just short of repeat title. 2010 was cut short by a Giants team that caught fire. Where will 2011 leave us? Will we fall short again, or will we run roughshod over a field that is prob­a­bly the strongest we’ve faced since 2009?  Need­less to say I’m excit­ed to see what unfolds.

Dream match-ups? Phillies ver­sus Brew­ers in the NLCS. Would love a rematch of the ’08 NLDS, which prob­a­bly fea­tured the most excit­ing game I’ve ever seen in the post­sea­son first­hand, with the ’09 NLCS clinch­er against the Dodgers a close sec­ond. (Saw the 10–2 laugh­er against the Rays in the ’08 World Series. It was sat­is­fy­ing, but not exact­ly thrilling.) Want to see Phillies-Tigers in the World Series. I’m a chau­vin­ist for clubs that have his­to­ry to com­ple­ment a daz­zling rota­tion topped by one of my favorite AL play­ers, Justin Ver­lan­der. (A lit­tle secret: I fell in love with the Tigers ear­ly in ’06 and have fol­lowed them since.)

I’ll be at the ball­park Sat­ur­day with my fam­i­ly, excit­ed for anoth­er round of post­sea­son base­ball. Wish me luck as I run on no sleep for a month!

The 2011 Phillies at the Trade Deadline

Hunter Pence. It’s going to take the rest of the sea­son for me to decide how he improves this team. I know peo­ple are excit­ed, but I think there are oth­er issues, notably the pres­ences of Wil­son Valdez and Ben Fran­cis­co, who have late­ly become sur­plus to require­ments. Remov­ing Dom Brown from the every­day line­up doesn’t improve the Phillies chances come post­sea­son play.

I still think the Phillies match up well against any team they could face in the play­offs, but I hate to think that banged up vet­er­ans like Polan­co or Ibanez could come up short when it mat­ters most.