The 2012 Phillies team has plummeted back to earth after four high-flying years. I’ve followed them since the late ‘60s and a .500 win/loss percentage in April used to be acceptable since the team was typically out of it before school was out, but I’m spoiled by the victories, the free agent signings, and that one World Series victory.
And to think, at one point, I thought this group had a shot at being one of the great teams in history, a multiple World Series winner with the game’s most devastating pitching line-up, but alas, that group of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels is no more.
So far this year, making the play-offs looks like a stretch.
I know it’s early and the team has injuries, but last year’s final pitch still haunts me. Howard’s Achilles snapping on the last out of the year, falling to the ground in agony as he tried to run to first base on a dropped strike three ball. I was in my own agony, coming to grips with the impossible, Halladay losing to the Cardinals, a team that wasn’t even headed for the playoffs, and there was Howard on the ground writhing in pain.
It was f*#&ing Shakespearean. And all I could do was shut the TV off because it was just too awful to watch–I simply couldn’t absorb any further bad news.
It came as no surprise that Howard wasn’t in the line-up on opening day, but on the bright side, last year also showed that a team can be mediocre all season and still pick it up in September to win a championship.
Yes, this year feels hauntingly familiar to what I’ve known as a Philly fan most of my life, but odds are they’ll still be hanging around come September, and as everybody knows, great pitching normally beats great hitting.
Let’s hope that holds true because my team won’t be setting any batting records this year.