Who Are The Phillies Really?

It is May 8. The Phillies are 30 games into the season, and they are last in the National League East.

They have not been in last place this late in a season since July 8, 2005.

Thirteen times the Phillies had a chance to move to .500. They lost eight times. Six times they had a chance to move over .500. They lost every time. This is a team that boasts Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in its rotation. It has Jonathan Papelbon as its closer. It has Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz in its lineup.

Last place.

It feels like the Phillies are just waiting for the winning streak to happen because it has happened in the past. Like they are entitled to good things because of their recent successes.

Worry? Why worry? We’ve won five consecutive National League East championships.

At times it also feels like they are waiting for Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to save the day. But like Jayson Werth correctly pointed out this weekend in DC, the Phillies aren’t the only team that is banged up. Before Werth broke his wrist Sunday, the Nationals were in first place without Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche. Imagine the Nationals lineup when those three and Werth are back.

Where does Bryce Harper hit then?

Maybe this is who the Phillies are. Maybe they are no better than a .500 team. (I’ve been waiting for Charlie Manuel to gather his team and say something, but so far that hasn’t happened.) If the Phillies are a winning team they need to start playing like one quickly. The July 31 trade deadline gets closer every day. If I’m Ruben Amaro Jr. and my team is no better than .500 come mid-July, I’d seriously consider trading some of my more valuable talent in an attempt to reload for 2013.

The Phillies have committed too much money to be a loser. This cannot continue.

*

A few observations on Hamels-Harper: It was a slap on the wrist for Hamels, who almost certainly will pitch Sunday. But because he admitted it MLB had to punish him. … If you read between the lines, Amaro basically said he had no problem with what Hamels did, but wished he had not admitted it. I think that’s why he said he supported MLB’s decision, but when asked specifically about the purpose pitch to Harper, he declined comment. … I’m not sure what was more over the top, Mike Rizzo‘s comments or his assistant GM’s comments. Nationals assistant general manager Harolyn Cardozo told The Washington Post, “If Cole Hamels wants a dog fight, he met a junkyard dog in Mike Rizzo.” What is that?!?!?!?!?! Are Hamels and Rizzo going to fight in the parking lot after school? … I read a lot of comments/columns about Hamels trying to send a message to a 19-year-old rookie. In my opinion, he wasn’t trying to send a message to Harper at all. Yes, Hamels said, “Welcome to the big leagues,” but I think he wanted to send a message to both teams. He wanted to tell the Nationals that the Phillies are going to fight, and he wanted to tell the Phillies to show some fight. … That said, if the pitch was supposed to fire up the Phillies it certainly didn’t carry into last night’s game.

*

Werth crushed Phillies fans because some of them cheered and mocked him when he walked off the field Sunday after breaking his wrist. If that’s true that’s awful. I’ve always thought the disdain for Werth for leaving Philadelphia and taking a $126 million contract from the Nationals is absurd, considering the Phillies only offered $48 million. If you tell me you would have turned down $78 million I’m telling you I don’t believe you. Werth has said some critical things of Phillies fans in the past, but he also has raved about them. Take the good with the bad. And I understand Werth plays for a division rival, so he will get booed. I don’t care about that. But it’s like his contributions to Philadelphia have been completely forgotten. It makes me wonder how Phillies fans will behave toward Hamels if he signs with another team.

Speaking of Hamels, does anybody else find it funny that saying something stupid Sunday has made him a truer Philly athlete? He was the World Series MVP for cryin’ out loud! I heard winning is the only thing that matters in this town, but it took this for some fans to finally embrace him? Wow.

*

Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • Thursday: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • June 16: Barnes & Noble, 4801 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Del., 2:00 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

17 Comments

Define “Phillies Fan” in the post 2008 world.

If one of their co-workers left their job for one that paid 5 times as much, they would either be envious or happy for him – or both. Somehow, an athlete leaving a team for the same reason is reviled.
Cheering injuries is equally odd behavior. I’m not sure they are Phillies fans or merely people who attend Phillies games.
I was around in the early ’70s when you could walk-up to the ticket window and get a lower level seat and in the mid 90s when you were questioned over “still going to those games.”
In between, they won, and hordes of “fans” showed up. They lurked in the shadows, waiting for an opportunity to feel like they weren’t wasting their money on tickets and their emotions on the team. It takes effort to stay with a team through bad times.
I’m not sure how many of this current group have that sort of stamina.

muleman, what happened to Werth on Sunday was an accumulation of events that have been going on since last season. Phans specifically buy tickets in RF in Washington for the sole purpose of ridiculing him for being a Nat. Nobody who is doing that thinks for a minute that he shouldn’t ahve taken the money and run, but he now plays for a division rival and, you have to admit, he has taken the role on. He has responded in kind, popping the front of his jersey, pointing to his name, and giving the money sign. A lot of give and take that, in the end, Werth apparently couldn’t handle.
There may have been a few boobs who kept it up after he got hurt, but nobody was cheering. That is a falsehood, and Werth’s remarks were emotional and immature. Too bad for him that he got hurt. That’s baseball.

Todd…..I think most of the current distain for Werth is the fact that he signed with the Nats, (who at the time were not a contending team), for the MOST money. Other, more respected teams, offered him a huge raise also. But he just followed the money trail. I would have hoped he had a little more respect for himself, than that.

BTW……I TOTALLY agree with you, that the team is waiting for Chase and Ryan to save the day. They need a wake-up call! And Charlie needs to give it to them!!!!

Thank you for saying what I said in the comment section in this blog a few weeks ago. If they aren’t in it by the All Star break (and I don’t think they will be) – folks are getting shipped out. And Hamels might well be one of them, unless they think they can sign him and still improve their lineup significantly.

Chase and Ryan aren’t going to save the day I am afraid. That is a reality that has failed to be addressed by management and honestly if we need to move pieces to rebuild to be competitive again in 2013 or 2014 we do it. We got a great run out of this core and a championship….only one other Phils team can say that (1980) in over 125 years! I for one am satisfied. I do not want a repeat of the mid-80’s and 90’s post-playoff runs where we sucked because we held onto veterans past their primes and got nothing for them. I’d rather “lose” a year now for the greater good (i.e. 5-6 stretch of good seasons) I am a minority in that thinking though.

IMO this (2012) was the last year of the window for this core. Not giving up, but it is plain as day if we turn off our 2008 blinders for a second…

Stamina…This is a pastime – watching baseball. Don’t make it more than that. I shouldn’t have to sit through crap if I don’t like it and not be able to say I’m a fan of the team. I grew up with the Phillies (I’m 41 now) and they had long periods of time where they sucked.I have gone to games in good times and in bad. I had season tickets in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and it got to a point where they just weren’t worth the investment of my time or money so I gave my tickets up. Then they got good again. So I bought back in. If you want to call me a fair weather fan go right ahead. I prefer to think of the games and the team as a product and myself as a smart consumer. If the dark times are starting again – and it certainly looks like they are I won’t hesitate to jettison my tickets until they become watchable again. Life is too short to spend doing something that makes you unhappy. So go ahead – jump right in there with Jimmy and call me a front runner. I can take it (middle digit raised in your honor).

So, you don’t really love baseball – you just love winning baseball teams. I get it. (Put your finger down)

Sorry Todd, but Rollins and Polanco are no longer productive hitters. Chase will never hit 30 HRs a season, and probably won’t be resigned after 2013, his last contract year I think. Howard will be fine, but can’t carry the teal alone. A real 3-hole hitter needs to come from somewhere, and soon if this season gets saved.

I am a longtime Phils fan…now for 65 years. Baseball is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my entire life. I’d hate to live in a world without it.

Physically and mentally challenging as with a clear view of what is happening on the field…in the midst of summertime.

So, even though this franchise was long a sad joke in the Nat’l League, these past 4 1/2 seasons have been the most satisfying because of quality play and the wining-est team in MLB. For that I’d like to thank management and I stand prepared to watch the team re-build itself.

The great 3/4 of an infield is gone by injury or age, and is unlikely ever to come close to the play of the past several years. Though the trades of our better prospects yielded a pitching staff calculated to bring the team to the playoffs and/or world series, the prospects bill has become due.

Holes in the lineup abound. Serious questions are now at several positions: 3b, SS, 2b, 1b, LF. They do not seem answerable this season with prospects missing from eligibility…gone.

The team cannot support good pitching with this group. A wholesale breaking apart–by trades– of its members needs to be considered. The only starting people worth keeping are Pence, Ruiz and Victorino. Utley is DONE. Too many injuries to the same parts of his body…plus age. Howard has seen the DL for considerable time last season, the one before and now. Even if/when he returns he may at best re-gain his declining offense.

Let’s not kid ourselves about this team. Thety are right where they deserve to be by their play. Time to recognize reality…and DO something about it for the future.

completely agree with art. But they are stuck with Howard because of that contract. No one else will take that off their hands. Jimmy is also newly signed – but that doesn’t mean they can’t be actively looking for his replacement. They need to hold on to Worley at all costs – he is Cole Hamels of 2006-07. Big Joe seems to be back in his 2008 form – very solid. Lee and Halladay are under contract for the next few years – don’t see them moving either. They might get bites for Kendrick ala JA Happ a few years ago. But I just don’t see that keeping Hamels is a good option at the sacrifice of having to cobble together a second-rate lineup because of lack of money. If they really can keep him and maybe get good, proven value for Kendrick and Joe, then great! Otherwise, I think Hamels has to be traded before he signs somewhere else and the team gets nothing for him. Short term they will take heat for it, but in the end they may get another 5-year run out of it.

Truth is only a starting pitcher has the kind of trade value to bring in a proven bat or two. All other tradable position players have either zero value or would bring in only equal return. Phils are in a position where only free agency is going to get them out of this hole quickly and there isn’t much out there next winter. Developing young guys takes time and will this “fan” base wait that long to rebuild??? Doubt it. How soon until the eagles chants start up? (sigh)

Reminds me so much of post 1993. Signing Daulton and Dykstra to big contracts AFTER they had career years and then the wheels fell off for a decade because you had nothing of value to trade to continue success or improve upon it.

When is someone going to realize that one of the biggest problems is the fraud that is the Phils pitching coach. Dubee does not help the pitchers who need it like most out of the pen, Kendrick, etc. Doc, Lee, Cole they help themselves. Jamie Moyer was a big help to guys like Hamels & others. Cole felt bad for Jamie when he hurt is arm & said he has done a lot to help us pitchers. Doc said the Moyer noticed a flaw in his step in the game before he pitched a perfect game against FL. Did Dubee help Myers, Gavin Floyd, Gio Gonzeles. NO! Everytime he goes to the mound things get worse. He has a confused look. Look at the Phils era before Moyer came to town. It was near the bottom of the league under Dubee. Dubee does a lot of talking in the newspapers, but he does not do any teaching. He should send Amaro a Christmas gift every year for bringing in Doc, Lee, Oswalt. It is time to promote Nichols from Leigh Valley or get Moyer in here after this year.

Need talent to coach….the Bullpen is a collection of misfit toys. That said players need to execute at this level, coaching only goes so far. Should we fire GG like we did Milt?…….same results different coach that is all is would be when the talent isn’t there.

Almost every game this season is an excercise in futulity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 296 other followers

%d bloggers like this: