Phillies picked by many to win it all, but who in Philly is comfortable with this?
"KEEP ON PHIGHTIN' WITH JOE VALLEE"
Although Ibanez wasn’t there for the World Series Halloween celebration of 2008, he reiterated how he was well aware of it, and how the possibility of another parade in this town excited him.
Don’t think for a minute that the 2011 Phillies aren’t hungry for another World Series run. You’ve heard it all before: the return of Cliff Lee gives the Phillies (on paper) one of the best rotations the history of the game has ever witnessed.
The Phillies continue to outdue themselves. After all, how many teams in major league baseball can say they’ve increased their regular season victory total over five consecutive (and most likely six) seasons? I can remember being quite disappointed that the 2006 Phillies took a step back from their 88 victory season in 2005. Little did we know that the end of that season would kick start a near half decade (and still going) run that is practically unmatched in the history of Phillies baseball.
I use the word “practically” because they are still on par with the 1975-83 glory days. Moreover, the team hasn’t won a second world series title in this era......yet.
As of this time, the Phillies are betting favorites to win this year’s World Series.
And to be honest, who in Philadelphia is actually happy with this?
For the first time EVER, the Phillies finished with baseball's best regular season record in 2010. There was NO stopping them.
This is a city where one of our most beloved characters is a fictional boxer who fought the odds to almost dethrone a heavyweight champion. In Philly, we’re not SUPPOSED to EVER be number one. Why do you think so many fans aren’t surprised when one of our teams loses in the finals? That’s how it’s supposed to be scripted, right?
In both championship seasons of 1980 and 2008, those Phillies teams were both considered contenders, but certainly not favorites. It’s almost as if we’re out of our element here with our team held in such high regard. This is not a comfortable thing.
Don’t worry, not EVERYONE is anointing the Fightins the champs just yet. The Athlon Sports Baseball Preview has the Phillies losing to the Red Sox in the World Series. I’m sure you can find some other publications that echo those same sentiments.
It’s fair. After all, the Phillies’ bats fell absolutely silent last October. They are even more of a concern going into the season with the loss of Jayson Werth. Also, take note that five of the Giants’ wins in the 2010 post season came against Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels.
Who is to think that either A. IF the Phillies remain healthy all season, they won’t suffer the same fate against the Giants if both teams make the NLCS this year, and B. IF the Phillies somehow advance to the big dance against (most likely) Boston, what makes you think they would suddenly figure out the Red Sox’s formula after a decade of futility against them in interleague play? Who knows? Maybe it's payback time. It was with the city of Tampa Bay.......
I know. You’re thinking too much, Joe. That’s why they play the games. To be honest, who is to say both of those teams will even make the World Series? But hey, that’s what makes it fun!
So in closing, the Phillies will officially begin their most anticipated season in team history next week. Not since the 2004 Eagles or even the 1982-83 Sixers has a sports season been so anticipated in this town. And relax, not EVERYONE is picking them to win it all. It’s better that way.
Now, don’t you feel more comfortable?......
Joe Vallee is a lifelong Phillies fan and former Phillies batboy. Joe has claimed to have seen about 98% of every Phillies game since the early 1980's.
Contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Cliff Lee photo: Andrea Kohalmi
Ryan Howard photo: Getty Images