The Phils

Warsh Sports

This post will be solely dedicated to the Philadelphia Phillies. Let me start by saying that the Phillies are the true unifier in the Philadelphia area. White guy from the suburbs, black guy from west Philly, or Italian guy from south Philly, all love the striking red pinstripes on that crisp white home uniform equally. Even my cousin from Delaware likes the Phillies. Unfortunately the Phillies haven’t made the playoffs in 14 years. And that playoff season ended with one of the most gut wrenching losses in World Series history.

The Phillies can only be described as perpetually on the cusp. For convenience, I will divide the years since 1993’s infamous loss to the Blue Jays into 2 eras: The Rico Brogna Era (1994-1999) and the Jimmy Rollins/Pat Burrell era (2000-Present). Brogna was an extremely smooth fielding, 100 RBI threat at first base for the Phils some years ago. This was the same time I was a bona fide 8th grade baseball star, driving in a team leading 9 runs for the BC team. Brogna gave way to Travis Lee. The Travis Lee years were not even worth watching. The Braves were still rolling through the NL East each season, and the Phils had just traded Curt Schilling and were horrendous. One year Paul Byrd won like 9 first half starts and was named to the All Star team, by far the most pathetic representative in the franchise’s long history – barely edging out Vicente Padilla, the starting pitcher who could only muster one inning before bitching out of the all star game, forcing it to end in a tie. Padilla did have the Padilla Flotilla though, a crucial 2nd group to the wildly influential Wolf Pack. Those two were the trailblazers for all these amateur ones you see now.

In 2000, a young phenom debuted for the Phils. His name was Pat Burrell, and he was the next big thing, a face of the franchise prospect. The next year, a scrappy undersized shortstop made his debut, and was the Phils lone representative in the All star game in his rookie season. To this day Jimmy Rollins remains the Phillies most underrated player, a true superstar who this season should finish 2nd in the MVP voting to Albert Pujols, should the Cardinals make the playoffs. With 3 more triples, J-roll will have over 20 home runs, triples, doubles, and stolen bases on the season. The last player to accomplish this is Willie Mays. To be fair, the most monumental moment in the early years of the Rollins/Burrell Era was the signing of Jim Thome. It was huge for the Phils to pay for a top flight free agent after years of being cheap assholes. But Thome’s achy back and the emergence of Ryan Howard led to the trade of Thome for Aaron Rowand. Howard’s statistics speak for themselves, and his NL MVP award to cap a season of 58 Homers and 149 RBI’s in 2006 was the best individual season Philadelphia has seen since Iverson’s MVP year. While certainly a young superstar, many experts believe that Howard’s late Major League callup (he was 25, very late for a good hitting prospect) denied him valuable seasons that will leave him short of Home Run milestones that the Hall of Fame requires. Not to worry though. I am certain a member of this Phillies team will be going to the Hall of Fame.

It’s hard to segue into Chase Utley. The guy is the dream player. He does everything right, always plays his absolute hardest, and is just a very very good hitter. Unfortunately he is a horrifically bad actor. His commercial with Jamie Moyer had similar quality acting to the video I made for French class in 7th grade. It was still better than the one starring Ryan Madson. Ryan Madson, yes. Eude Brito must’ve been busy that day. Anyway, Utley has now started two straight all star games and looks like he’ll be starting about 10 more. The guy has zero competition at his position. His offense compares to the best batters in the league, while the rest of the 2nd basemen are terrible. Except for Brandon Phillips, who is a good enough player, but his career year this year doesn’t even compare to Utley’s, and Chase missed 5 weeks with a broken hand. Utley’s career batting average of .320 (estimated) and overall tenacity and adoration received will send Chase into the Hall. Of course, having Chase at 2nd base gives the Phils an automatic advantage over any team they play in at least one position, an advantage they squander with their atrocious pitching staff.

The Phils pitching was not helped when cbank park and its short fences arrived. The only truly good pitcher the Phils have is Cole Hamels, who of course felt some elbow pain and has missed his last couple starts. Even in his absence, and the absence of every single good player the Phils have at some point this year, the team came up huge in a 4 game series against the Mets, setting themselves up for both an NL East and a wild card chase. The Phils were 2 back in each race, in even better position than last year, when they only had the wild card to shoot for. I firmly believed the Phils would make the playoffs. Then they promptly lost 2 straight series, ruining their chances barring a major miracle. It was especially frustrating since I had been taking great care not to get too emotionally involved in the Phils this season. Those Mets games gave everyone hope, then everyone promptly got let down. The players change, but that never does.

– Warsh

Published in: on September 6, 2007 at 7:57 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. First, I find it hard to believe that Warsh was allowed to rant on the Phillies. As some of us know, this is not a sport Rich takes an interest in. When I bring them up, Rich tunes out.

    At any rate –
    My first memory of the Phils was 1964 – cruising in first place by 9 or 10 games – only to drop the last 10 of 11 games of the season – fall to second place and not make the world series. There were no playoffs – just two teams getting in the world series.

    I went to google to make sure I had my facts straight. Age will do that to you.

    1. I found to following: The 1964 Phillies: The Story of Baseball’s Most Memorable Collapse (Paperback)
    by John P. Rossi

    2. A quote from a second article: “The Phils kept winning, and on September 20, they returned home from a West Coast road trip with a 6 1/2-game lead on second-place Cincinnati with only twelve games remaining. The city was buzzed. The World Series tickets and programs were printed. “Go Phillies Go” bumper stickers were everywhere. All they need was another four or five measly wins to clinch the pennant.”

    The rest is history. If history is any indicator we’re in for more disappointment.
    Go Eagles!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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