Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Countdown to '08: The Philadelphia Phillies

Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Fans Known For: Cheering dying players from opposing team, throwing snowballs at God, strangling drifters who don't like Mike Schmidt, arguing the greatness of Mike Lieberthal, chasing Italian guys running down the street to theme music, running up famous steps like Rocky Balboa and then dropping dead of cheese steak induced heart attacks
Sports Teams Known For: Shitting the bed
Brett Myers Likes to Practice His Right Hook on Woman in Public: True
Brass Thinks it's a Good Idea to Move Ace into Closer Role: True

A few months ago, Philly's resurgence was the talk of baseball. They cut down the Met's division lead over the last two weeks of the season, creating a story that sportswriters around the globe proceeded to run into the ground worse than Michael Irvin's line-shaven hairdo at The Vet. We all were sick of it. Even us Yankee fans, who were reading 75 articles a day about a bunch of fucking gnats in Cleveland, thought the Mets collapse was a bit over-publicized.

Then the Phillies went on to get swept by the even-more-feel-good-story in the Colorado Rockies - Thus creating another story for beat writers to masturbate quietly to in their mom's basements. It was a never ending cycle.

But let's look at the team in '08.

Staff Ace? Check.
Power hitting monster? Check.
Handsome gentleman manning 2B who is the unheralded hero? Check.
Cornrowed shortstop with a knack for controversy? Check.
Bullpen? ...

That's the problem. No pen, whatsoever. Anyone with half a non-damaged brain knew this team was in trouble last year when they converted their staff ace into a closer. If Todd Jones gets too fat and drops dead of a heart attack at a drag race rally, do you think the Tigers will move Justin Verlander into his role? No shot. And trading for Brad Lidge isn't going to help the situation, either. Putting him in front of the vicious Philadelphia faithful is like putting a Vietnam Vet in charge of the Macy's 4th of July fireworks display. Not a good idea. The minute Carlos Beltran takes him deep in the 9th(and doesn't watch the 3rd strike go by to lose the game) it's all over for Lidge. He'll lose all his composure and dignity like a drunk sorority girl getting caught by her boyfriend blowing some random dude in an alleyway during Fat Tuesday. He's Mitch Williams Part II. But at least Mitch Williams had a mullet, letting the hilarity ensue long after his life was in shambles and a whole section of the country wanted to see him bludgeoned to death with a rusty crowbar.

The Phillies do have a powerful offense. And I'm not sure there's a better 1-2-3 than Rollins, Utley and Howard in all of baseball. They also have the Met killer, Pat Burrell. Unbeknownst to me, up until a couple of years ago, I had no idea how badly he owned the Mets. I thought David Ortiz owned the Yankees worse than anyone, but I think Burrell has him beat. He hits like .173 against every other team in the NL, but against the Mets, he's batting .853 lifetime. They also have the resident nerd, Shane Victorino, with his fucking two-sided Little League helmet and his go-get-em hustle.

The bottom line is, The Phillies will live and die in tight games this year. And now that the Mets have added The Messiah to their pitching staff, I can't really see this team taking the division again. They could win the wildcard though, because the National League is less competitive than the Chelsea Pier's Intramural Gay Kissing League.

Odds of the Phillies Making the Playoffs: Same odds that a bisexual, coke-induced Lindsay Lohan porn tape surfaces this year - pretty solid


AK-47 said...
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AK-47 said...

Yes the Phills have a fearsome offense and that trio is probably the best in baseball. However, they'll miss Rowand's production from last year offensively and defensively as they have replaced him with a Geoff Jenkins/Jason Werth platoon (joke).

They've had one of the best offenses in the NL the last 3 years or so and they've hardly sniffed the playoffs. You can't take it away from them that they made it to the post season last year, but even with the Mets collapse they were still tied on the last day of the season and they just got in. I still see them as the same team as they've been the last few years. The ONLY way that changes is if Lidge '04-'05 shows up on opening day and the rotation comes up big.

The fact that Rollins "called it" before hand a year ago doesn't all of a sudden make them better they they actually are.