Phun or Phrustration? That is the annual plight of a Philadelphia Phillies baseball fan. I have always been a Phillies fan. Growing up I collected all their cards. I rooted for the Whiz Kids in 1950. I loved Robin Roberts and saw him pitch against Brooklyn's Don Newcombe several times in old Connie Mack Stadium. I cheered for Richie Ashburn, Del Ennis and Curt Simmons. Later my favorites were Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton and Pete Rose. But I, like other true Phillie fans, have suffered through many, many years of sad, average baseball including 1964 when leading by 6.5 games with only 12 to go, the Phils lost ten straight and once again blew the championship. But there have been some good years, especially recently. And all true Phillie diehards thought that finally this year we had the team of the ages, a sure bet to win the World Series. The team traded away their farm system to secure what might be the best five man pitching rotation ever. This was our year! But in Phillies history little has gone the way it was planned. Failure always seems to come through Philadelphia. Who expected the "Big Five" to have two of its members (Oswalt and Blanton) on the disabled list? But it happened! Who expected that one of the very best bullpens to have their three closers on the disabled list (Lidge, Contreras and Madson)? But that is where it stands now. Who expected one of the best second basemen in baseball (Utley) to spend a third of the year on the disabled list? But he did! Who expected that there would be nobody in the farm system with a bat to replace Jayson Werth when he wasn't resigned? But there isn't! Who expected that slugger Ryan Howard would become average after he signed a major longtime contract with the Phils? But he did and he has lost his spark at the plate! Who thought that Phillie favorite Jimmy Rollins would show his age so quickly and become an average hitter? But that appears to have happened. And who thought that Raul Ibanez's age would make him an offensive liability? But that appears to be the case. Today the team can't hit and can only score one or two runs a game. Mental mistakes have stood out and hurt because of the team's offensive drought. Their outfielders can't throw, their pitchers can't keep runners from stealing, their runners can't steal, and they can't or won't bunt and play "little-ball". Phrustration for fans almost every night. And yet, can you believe it, they still have the best record in baseball today! Amazing. But longtime Phillie fans wonder how long can their playing keep them in the lead? Can three great pitchers get them to the play-offs? Do they have a chance if they do get there? Phillie fans are hopeful but at the same time we've been there before and the bottom often falls out of our expectations. Some days they are amazing and Phun to watch, other days it is agony or Phrustration to try to do so. This team is now getting old in baseball years and the farm system is empty. What do following years hold? Well I guess we'll know that soon enough. The question now is, what does the remainder of this year hold? Will it be Phun to watch and support potentially one of the best teams ever, or, in typical Philadelphia fashion, will it again be Phrustration? Will the PHade or will they PHrolic? Stay tuned - we'll know in October.
SWEET WILL OF GOD
3 days ago