Friday, September 28, 2007
This is shaping up to be a historic season. After Jimmy Rollins boasted that the Phillies were the team to beat in the preseason, many dismissively wrote the Phillies off with their struggles out of the gate. Just a few weeks ago the Phillies were mostly given an outside chance to make the playoffs. Trailing in the wildcard race, well behind the Mets in the N.L. East race, the Phillies were a long-shot to make it. Just two weeks ago the Mets held a seven game lead on the Phillies. The Mets collapse these last two weeks is hardly as dramatic as 1964, but it is stunning. How could a team boasting such experience as the Mets, with so much talent, fall apart like this? The spirit and energy of Phillies fans was contagious, as they cheered wildly and waved towels. The Phillies fed off that energy and seemed to be playing with passion we’ve never seen before. Certainly, I’ve never seen the Phillies play like this since 1993. In the past we’ve seen the Phillies playing tentatively down the stretch, cautiously, fearful they’d come up short, reluctant to believe in themselves.
Not this year. Watching Brett Myers pump his fist as he strode off the mound with his 21st save of the year, you could see the passion and enthusiasm in the players and the fans. This team believes in itself. This team knows it can win. I haven’t seen a Phillies team with this much passion and heart since 1993.
The Mets, in contrast, look like the Phillies. Manager Willie Randolph looks like he’s been beaten. Watching him on ESPN last night he seemed tired and drained, too numb to rally the troops. His efforts to fire up his players during the game was almost pathetic, pounding the fists of players who looked too pessimistic and too nervous to think about victory, only the avoidance of defeat. Nobody wanted to look him in the eye. This is a beaten team.
According to Baseball Prospectus’ playoff odds, the Phillies hold a slight edge over the Mets for the N.L. East right now: 50.3% to 49.7%. Overall, the Phillies playoff chances are slightly better than the Mets: 59.1% to 58.5%.
Tonight, Saturday and Sunday: Phillies vs. Nationals. The Phillies are 10-5 against the Nationals this season and this seems to favor the Phillies. The last series they played the Phillies took three of four. Oh, and ace Cole Hamels goes for the Phillies tonight. The Mets, meanwhile, greet the Marlins at Shea Stadium, where the Fishstripes are aiming to be spoilers. This will be interesting.
It’s not in the bag by any means. The Phillies still have to win, and as a Phillies fan you have to remember the tragic history this team has. Decades of losing, a dynasty that failed to materialize in the 1950’s, the collapse of 1964, the teams of 1976-1978 that lost the NLCS three times, the decline of the championship team in the mid-to-late 1980’s, the ’93 team that lost on Joe Carter’s home run, the team’s recent failures. I hesitate to point out that history is against the Phillies.
But who cares about that? Live in the moment. October baseball beckons. My prediction: the Mets rally and win two of three, the Phillies also take two of three, and the Phillies and Mets duel in the 163rd game of the season Monday night, a one-game playoff to decide the N.L. East title. Enjoy!
great post though
i feel as though the 10,000 loss has wiped the slate clean for the phillies bad history, not we are turning a new leaf, a leaf that involves winning!
I liked it so much, I did a special podcast tonight after the Phils won to put themselves into first place with the Mets loss.
Hear Mikes predictions in our
Great day for Phillies fans today.. I can't believe it!
One game, all the marbles.. roll the dice.... Phils play well on Sunday's .... I would start Meyers here, even though he pitched some relief.. hey where's that 10 million dollar a year Garcia guy? .... to many questions and no time for answers ... one more game says it all!
Get them before all Mets fans do!