Sunday, July 5, 2015

Woe is Phillies

While sitting in the coffee shop the other day, I grabbed the sports section of the nearest newspaper and took a quick glance at the major league baseball standings.

I knew I wasn't going to be happy.

But there were the Philadelphia Phillies, my favorite team, wallowing in last place in the NL East Division.

 Today, even before next week's All-Star Break which symbolically designates the halfway point in the season, the Phillies are 27-56, playing at a woeful .325 clip, 19 games behind the first-place Washington Nationals.

They are currently 29 games under .500. And it's only July 5.

Those numbers translate to a record of 52-110 by Oct. 4, the last day of the regular season. And that's barring any kind of an extended losing streak, which tends to happen more often to lousy teams than good teams.

Just by comparison, the 1962 Mets — the worst team in my memory — were 40-120 in their initial season. They finished 60.5 games out of first place.

The Phillies are a franchise that date back to 1883. About a decade ago they lost their 10,000th game — the first professional franchise in any sport ever to reach that mark — but I thought all that was behind them now.

Ha. Obviously I was dreaming.

It makes me scratch my head to realize that the Philllies actually won the World Series in 2008. It's not that long ago.

What the heck happened? I thought then they might be on the verge of a dynasty. Turns out they were on the verge of a precipice.

Back in April, my Sports Illustrated MLB Preview section declared that the Phillies are " absolute mess. The front office is in denial. There are no quick fixes here, because they've traded away a lot of their prospects — and they actually had some good prospects."

That's pretty much it in a nutshell. Last week, manager Ryne Sandberg stepped down on his own accord, signalling his own frustration with the club (and, clearly, with the front office).

I don't know what the answer is, but I feel like my life is flipping back to those horrible days in the 1960s when they really were one of the worst teams in baseball. Yet, I stuck with them. No fair-weather fan here.

Thank goodness there's the American League, where I can follow my other favorite team, the Boston Red Sox.


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