I'll be honest. I wasn't looking forward to this year's Opening Day of baseball season as much as I have in years past. Not because I'm not still a die hard baseball fan with a raging passion for the Phillies, but because it's exceptionally rare - especially in Philadelphia - to begin a new season with nothing to improve on from the year before. No talk of past failures. No "this is finally gonna be our year" battle cries. No rehashing of how we need to get over the hurdle or to the next level. After all the highs, lows, joys, and frustrations that went into last year's season, only one team was left standing at the conclusion of the 2008 World Series.
Which brings us to today...
Opening Day 2009 between the defending World Champion Phillies and the Atlanta Braves. The pregame ceremony contained a ton of festivities, highlighted by the official raising of the 2008 World Championship flag. And with that, the page on last year had officially been turned. Unfortunately, once the first game of '09 began, it was an all Braves show. Phillies starter Brett Myers had trouble from the get-go and surrendered three home runs (the toughest one of all to a 22 year old rookie in his first Major League at bat). Even worse, the powerful Phillies offense was completely silenced and choked in every clutch situation, save for a 9th inning RBI single. In many ways, it was reminiscent of a major two month hitting drought the team experienced last year while the rest of the division played so poorly that the Phils managed to stay in 1st place despite barely scoring any runs. Hopefully this will not continue to be the trend as I doubt such a luxury will be afforded this year in a completely revamped NL East.
Obviously, no need to draw any major conclusions just yet as this was merely game one of a 162 game season. The silver lining to this loss is that the Phils got hammered on Opening Day of last year's storied season as well. In fact, the Phils have only won three Opening Days this decade, so today's defeat was really just in keeping with tradition. Anyway, the Phils have officially begun their title defense, so here's hoping 2009 represents another fun and entertaining summer of quality baseball in Philly!