Our man Rev helps us get ready for opening day next week. These are his words.
long ago I wrote a post urging you to recognize and appreciate just
how amazing an era of Phillies baseball we’ve been treated to. As
a result of this success, Phils-mania has swept across the entire
Valley. It’s getting to the point where you cannot go anywhere without
seeing something Phillies related. Case in point - while waiting
for a prescription to be filled at CVS there was a copy of the most
recent issue of Philadelphia Magazine on the chair next to me. I picked
it up, looked at the cover, and saw Chase Utley staring back at me.
The cover promised details on which TV shows various Phillies DVR, which
teammate they’d least like to play poker against, and other similar
People Magazine/US Weekly insights into the local nine. Apparently there
are four separate covers with either Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins,
or Shane Victorino mugging for the camera. Their Phils coverage even
included an article featuring Phillies WAG’s. Yes, that’s how much
this team has captured our attention…their wives and girlfriends are
deemed worthy of coverage.
by no means am I anti all of this Phillies mania. If nothing else it’s
a reminder of how far they’ve come. However, there are certain truths
about this team which will reveal themselves over the course of a 162-game schedule. That’s the beautiful thing about following a baseball
team over the course of a season. You pick up on certain quirks,
and habits of your squad. You follow them day in and day out to the
point that you can anticipate what’s going to happen in any given
situation. This is especially true with a team that’s been together
as long as this one. We’ve had enough of an opportunity to watch them
to the point that we can predict, with a degree of certainty, what’ll
happen. In other words, certain truths about the Phillies have become
on past experience, what follows is a list of things we know we can
expect to see from the two-time defending National League Champions.
- Jimmy will go through a
stretch where seemingly every time he steps into the box he’s already
down 0-2 in the count. He’ll be sitting first pitch fastball and
pull the cord on him. He’ll be sitting on something offspeed only
to swing over it anticipating a fastball. During this time the chorus
of “Jimmy’s not a leadoff hitter” will resume in full throat.
- Shane, on a night where
he’s batting in the two-hole in order to give Polanco a rest, will
get thrown out trying to steal third with two outs and Ryan Howard at
the plate. Uggghhhh. Mikey Miss will spend the entire next day killing
him for a lack of baseball smarts.
- Despite Charlie’s best
but ultimately unsuccessful effort to give him days off during the
come September Chase will wear down, start opening up too early, and
will hit .214 for the month. Everyone will freak out wondering what’s
wrong with him only to see him hit .328 during the postseason.
- After flailing at off-speed
stuff away for the entire month of August The Big Fella will
reduce the amount of heat on Utley with his annual September power
He’ll resume hitting bombs to leftfield and driving in runs by the
bushel. Based on his September performance he’ll thrust himself into
the NL MVP debate.
- Towards the end of the year,
Jayson Werth will be approaching a 30-30 season and will be forced to
deal with a barrage of questions about his impending free agency.
being Werth, he’ll deflect each and every question and will reiterate
his desire to remain a Phillie, that baseball is a business, and all
he’s focused on is winning another World Series.
- Pop Pop Moyer will go through
a stretch in July where he fails to go more than 4 innings in any
All of Philadelphia will be clamoring for Kendrick to take over the
fifth starter’s job. Come August 3rd Jamie will face the Marlins in
Florida and twirl a seven inning two hit gem.
- The Scott Eyre watch. Phils
LOOGY’s will struggle mightily the first part of the season prompting
the beat writers to pepper Ruben Amaro Jr. with questions as to
he’ll reach out to Scott Eyre. Ruben will deny any interest in
him back, but Eyre’s unwillingness to completely rule out a return
continues to fuel speculation.
- The lack of AB’s for the
bench guys. If the last few years are any indication, and barring
Ben Francisco, Greg Dobbs, Ross Gload, and Juan Castro presumably
going to see a whole lot of plate appearances. I am not including
Schneider in this mix as he’ll likely see a fair number of Sunday
afternoon and day game following a night game starts behind the plate.
- Following up an 11 run 14
hit game in which they’ve chased a top of the rotation guy in the
4th inning only to be followed up the next day by a 1 run
3 hit effort against some career journeyman making an emergency start.
- Ryan Howard costing the
Phils a game by sailing a throw into left after Cole Hamels or Jamie
Moyer has a guy picked off of first.
- Sarge saying “as well”
1,037 times. Sarge talking about J.R. Richard 311 times. Sarge saying
“slide piece” 418 times.
- Me cringing each and every
time Tom McCarthy says “Oppo Boppo”.
- L.A. coming close to being
fined by the FCC after freaking out following a blown call by umpire
in advance that all of these things are likely to happen it will do
nothing to take away from the enjoyment of watching them. Whether in
person, on television, or on the radio following a baseball team over
the course of a 162 game season is comforting and familiar. They become
part of your daily routine. Who’s pitching that day? How did Chase
deposit two balls over Utley’s corner and into the seats against Johan
Santana? How hot is Howard going to get when they visit St. Louis? It
never gets old. The daily drama is the best.
T-minus one week
until Opening Day.