Thursday, November 5, 2009

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

This hurts worse than I thought it would.

I mean, I sort of remember what it was like for a Phillies season to end on a losing note. But ever since Shane Victorino grounded out to second base to conclude a series sweeping loss in the 2007 NLDS against the Colorado Rockies, I'd simply forgotten how crappy it feels to lose your last game. I guess it's only fitting then, that when Victorino grounded out to second base last night to end the 2009 World Series, I was struck with an odd and disgusting feeling of déjà vu.

With the 2009 baseball season having come to an official close, I can't help but look back on this Phillies season with both fondness and frustration, though I can clearly say there were way more ups than downs this year. But boy, when the downs came, they were DOWNS!!!

Downs:
1) Our beloved Phillies broadcaster/grandfather, Harry Kalas passed away in April.
2) Cole Hamels & Brad Lidge never found a groove after amazing '08 seasons.
3) Injuries ravaged the pitching staff.
4) The offense had a tendency to fluctuate toward extreme hot and cold spells at any given time.
5) We ultimately lost the World Series to the Evil Empire.

Ups:
1) We started the season as the defending World Champions and went on to prove that 2008 was no fluke.
2) We had a decent April record (a Phillies rarity) despite losing Harry.
3) We took hold of first place in the NL East in May and never looked back.
4) We had four hitters with over 30 home runs.
5) We acquired seasoned veteran pitchers Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez, who both strengthened the team immensely.
6) Rauuuuuul!!!
7) We made it back to the World Series, and despite losing it, are still champs of the National League.
8) Charlie Manuel will once again manage the NL All Star team in 2010.

So while all of this amounts to an amazing 2009 Phillies season, I still feel punched in the gut today as I read all the headlines reminding me that the store-bought Yankees won their 27th World Series over my beloved team. What an amazing feat it would have been to win back-to-back World Series titles and be included among the teams that are talked about for decades afterwards. Still, no one can deny how hard it is to win three consecutive division titles, including two consecutive World Series appearances, with one championship already in the bag.

And so the page is turned toward next year. If Cole Hamels can regain his dominance and form a lethal 1-2 punch with Cliff Lee, if Brad Lidge can remember how to get three outs in the 9th inning, if we can solidify our bench and bullpen a little bit, and of course, if we can keep everyone relatively healthy over 162 games, then I think it's safe to say we can look forward to some more dominant Phillies baseball in 2010 as the boys work to reclaim their throne! Without a doubt, we are living in the greatest era of Phillies baseball!

The Yankees may have won the World Series this year, but they will never be WFCs!!!!

4 comments:

  1. I love all of this. Thanks, Alan.

    Shane

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  2. I honestly think if we can get a right handed starter to throw between Lee and Cole (provided he is Cole again) get a right haded bat to come off the bench and get a left handed reliever we will be back in the WS again, and more than likely we will be going against the Yankees again. A national league team hasn't made it to three straight WS appearances since the St. Louis Card's of the 1940's. To be totally honest This one didn't hurt as bad as 93 did. For me being at the series clinching game 5 last year spoiled me a little. I even sold my WS tickets this year because I knew that the series was going more than 5 games and I knew that unless I was at the Phillies clinching game this year it wouldn't be nearly as exciting as last season. So I took the $4K and watched at home. I was pulling for the Phils, and I still love the Phils, and losing to the Evil Empire sucks, but I am not as crushed as when the Phils lost in 93 or when the Eagles lost in 2004. What the 08 title did for me was give me hope that we can contend with this group every year so that softens the blow. The difference in going 29 years with out a WS championship and looking to repeat is that when there has been a drought that first one is special, to repeat is a bonus but if you don't know we won one softens the blow. This year was good but even if they won 2008 still would have felt better and would have meant more to me. I mean I cried in the stands after game 5 last year. The monkey was off our back, now I can enjoy the games with the frustration after a loss in the WS because that thirst for a Champion was quenched last season.

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  3. Brian--I'm right there with you, except for selling tickets to the game. (You lose a Man Card AND a fan card for that). This didn't hurt near as much as '93. ONe reason 93 hurt so bad is because deep down we all knew that we had caught lightning in a bottle that year, while this team is built to contend for a long time.

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  4. My high point- being at the game where they got Ryan Howard out of the hospital to hit a home run...and he hit it.

    My low point- a tie:

    a)Out #27 of Game 6

    b)Watching the Phillies lose the game where they got Ryan Howard out of the hospital to hit a home run

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