Yes, there it is, it’s out there. Get a grip on your excitement about how this team has turned the corner now with long-overdue trades that – gasp – possibly brought value in return. Oh, enjoy what the kids are doing down on the farm and pray that the organization has finally grown out of its micro-managing, fear-factor mental hole of not wanting to rush a prospect up to the show … in case the youngster can’t handle the pressure.
It just would be wise to keep a grasp on reality – past, present and future, both short-term and long-term. Which, in Philly, has never proven to be the easiest thing to do.
Beholden for far too long to past glories of the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and the just-departed Cole Hamels, somehow believing patience and persistent hope would produce a return to them, the masses already seem to have jumped shit entirely and ready to swim in a new direction.
Great, it’s about time. Just give up the assumption that all is well and that the team is on the fast track to championship caliber. In that haste to anoint new greatness the underlying irony is unmistakable – people here have been so conditioned to wish for the past while watching slop on the field that they actually don’t have any concept of what it took for those fabulous Phillies seasons to exist.
Those teams were good, DAMN GOOD, back then – from 2006 through 2011 (the peak years being 2007-09). Utley and Howard, far more so than Jimmy Rollins, were looking like Hall of Famers. Players such as Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino, caste aside by other organizations, had the tools and teeth to carve out all-star campaigns and become fixtures along with the team’s homegrown core. The pitching was good, then great. This outfit now, even after the shakeup, it’s a long, long way from reaching the level those glory-day teams performed at.
Wins and losses shouldn’t even be the current measuring stick. The development and output of individuals should be. If we’re looking at a lineup of one guy with some pop (Maikel Franco) surrounded by a bunch of punch-and-Judy hitters, a solid second half built on facing teams playing out the string isn’t going to do anything for the Phillies or their fans in the long run. If mid-season call-up Aaron Nola is the ace of your staff, that’s a problem, too – because he’s got middle-of-the-rotation stuff. Nothing more, nothing less.
Change was needed for this organization, desperately. But if thus far has been anything more than just tip of the iceberg stuff with change, the Phillies, their fans and the media can expect to inhabit a lot of chilly, murky water for quite some time.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org