Sunday, September 30, 2007

Out In The Cold

The Phillies, after a start of the season that was just brutal, a starting pitching caravan where the monumentally confidence-free Kyle Lohse was an upgrade, a mid-season reassignment of the closer role to their best SP of a year ago and a genuine retard of a human being, dozens of DLed players and a fan base that's been convinced for years that they are gutless cock-teases that will end up just short at the finish... are tied with the Mets for first place with one game left to play.

Longtime Phillie fans are, of course, of two minds: delighting in the collapse of the Mets (just 17 games ago, the lead was 7 -- if it continues, this choke job will be truly monumental), and convinced that their team will, once again, come up just heartbreakingly short of the post-season. Today's game, a surprisingly lifeless loss to the back-of-the-bus Washington Nationals, is a clear case in point; they ran through pitchers like chocolate through a dog, then got betrayed by bad defense. Meanwhile the previously lifeless Mets nearly had a no-hitter in a runway win against the Marlins. Best of all, the loser in this bake-off will most likely miss the playoffs, as God intended (though if the Padres lose in Milwaukee, and with Brett Tomko on the mound that's always a decent chance, there's likely to be An Ongoing Situation).

I love pennat fever. It's the best value in major-league sports, the last sprint in a marathon, and it's so good that it covers even the glaring holes that a team has, or the fact that in the NL, if you're just a few games over .500, you were in the mix. If you're a fan of competitive balance, it's your year; no team in either league will win or lose 100 games.

But I can't get into this Phillies team, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I haven't earned the right to care about them in a pennant race. I gave up being an MLB fan entirely with the strike; only the Pure Fun Oakland A's of the early 00s, along with the fun of taking my kid to games, got me back. Secondly, I don't actually like the new yard, I've been to a game or two in the Phillies' new yard, and it's just another overpriced new stadium, filled with the same old classless yahoos. Third, the GM situation is as horrid as its ever been; if this team doesn't make it to the playoffs despite having ridiculously good years from 3/4s of the infield, as well as found money years from a bunch of OFs who really aren't that good, and a drop-dead good year from emerging star Cole Hamels... well, let's just say that it doesn't exactly provoke confidence in their future efforts to get better. They've collected washed-up closers like an outdated fantasy team owner, and the injury excuse only goes so far, really. (Having said all that, last year's Cardinals team proves that Anything Can Happen In The Playoffs. So...)

So to all of you out there who think that today's sporting events (i.e., the Eagles in New York to face the Giants in a battle to see who will be 1-3, and the Phils/Mets/Padres situation will also resolve itself) has the potential to be another Shattering Event to the Philly Fan Psyche... please get over yourself. The Phillies have not been to the postseason since 1993, despite being over .500 in each of the last five years, and they are relying on a 44-year-old soft tosser (Jamie Moyer) with a 5.15 ERA to punch their ticket tomorrow with win #230 for his 20-year career. The fan base, believe it or not, really isn't going to jump off a ledge if they don't make it. They're kinda used to this by now. And it's just not a baseball town no more.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Can the Mariners have Moyer back, plz? We'll send you Ryan Feierabend, who's like Moyer except WAY younger and, well... crappier.

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