Monday, October 02, 2006
Am I pessimistic about the future? Well, I count the Phillies 2006 campaign to be a rousing success actually. Few people gave them much of a shot at making the playoffs anyway, and after the Phillies dealt Cory Lidle, David Bell and Bobby Abreu, even I, the cautious optimist and proud contrarian, agreed with the conventional wisdom and figured that they were finished for the season. What did the Phillies do? They posted the best record in the N.L. after the All-Star Break (45-30, .600) and played some pretty darn good baseball. To make the wildcard, the Phillies needed to vault over nine teams and they very nearly did.
The 2006 season saw the emergence of Ryan Howard as the team’s superstar. The Phillies also got to see players like Shane Victorino and Cole Hamels, two future stars, play and make significant contributions. Chris Coste, Chris Roberson, Carlos Ruiz and Michael Bourn played significant time as well. These are all players who are going to factor into the Phillies plans for 2007 and 2008. I am heartily encouraged that the team gave the fans a look at the future and they ended up playing so well. Dealing Bobby Abreu (and probably Pat Burrell in the off-season, if they can find any takers) has freed up money from the team’s payroll and enabled the Phillies to get younger while still playing good baseball.
I see this team’s future as being very bright. Pat Gillick stated that he had an eye on competing for 2008. This team will contend in 2007 instead.
Tomorrow I will preview the playoffs a little and offer my thoughts on how I think they will unfold. Never fear, however, just because the Phillies are out of the playoffs this doesn’t mean we won’t talk about the Phillies. I have a couple of thoughts on issues facing the Phillies going into the 2007 season, and I have a big project on the Phillies past that I plan to unveil next week. Big project. Huge.
a 50-year fan.