The Philadelphia Phillies' Biggest Disappointments Since the 2008 World Series
The Philadelphia Phillies have doubtlessly been the most successful franchise in the City of Brotherly Love since they won the World Series in 2008.
Until this year, the Phils have been one of baseball's most dominant forces, beginning each season with World Series aspirations, but ending each season in the most heartbreaking ways.
Today, the Phillies are NL East bottom dwellers. Along the road to the basement of the division, the Phillies have had some moments that have been outright devastating. Some have come on the field, and others have happened off the field. This slideshow will highlight the most gut-wrenching of these disappointments.
10. Cliff Lee Can't Buy a Win
Cliff Lee’s 2012 season has been tumultuous, to say the least.
It would ultimately take him until July 4th, through a total of 14 starts, to win his first game of the 2012 season.
Cliff Lee was nothing short of spectacular at times. He struck out hitters seemingly at will and consistently pitched deep into games, even going 10 innings on one occasion.
However, the lackluster Phillies offense didn’t have the tools to provide Lee with the kind of run support he needed.
Regardless, the fact that a pitcher of Cliff Lee’s caliber—whether as a result of a stagnant offense or an inability to pitch effectively—remained winless as long as he did is extraordinarily disappointing.
9. Chase Utley Leaves Camp
Chase Utley is a hard-nosed player with a history of injuries. Maybe it’s a result of his playing style. Perhaps he is genetically prone to injury. Whatever the case may be, we knew his presence in the lineup would not be easy to replace.
With Ryan Howard already ruled out indefinitely for the start of the 2012 season, the news that Chase Utley’s nagging knee problems would keep him out was the beginning of the end for the Phillies.
The team probably could have limped on and remained a contender without Howard as long as they had Utley. But, without both of them, a dark shadow was cast over the team's prospects for 2012.
This news was disappointing because every Phillies fan knew that the team’s most productive offensive players would now be missing from the lineup on opening day, both without a definite timetable for return.
8. Roy Halladay Pulls a Lat Muscle
Roy Halladay, the ace of the pitching staff, the guy who won a Cy Young, the one who gave us a perfect game and a no-hitter, and the one who was acquired at the expense of fan-favorite Cliff Lee, left his May 27th start after just two innings of work.
At the time, Halladay left as a precautionary measure due to shoulder soreness. However, he would ultimately land on the DL and miss a significant amount of playing time with a strained lat muscle.
With Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, the team’s best offensive players, already out with serious injuries, the news that Halladay could also miss significant playing time was hard to swallow.
Now, the Phillies would have to struggle to remain relevant—a task at which they failed miserably—without their three best players.
Disappointing? To say the least.
Halladay's injury could end up being the nail in the coffin on the season when all is said and done this year.
7. Ryan Howard Strikes out to Conclude the 2010 NLCS
Do you remember where you were when this happened? Do you remember how you felt when you realized the Phillies wouldn’t be going back to the World Series?
I was bartending when this went down. It was a Friday or Saturday, and it was a very busy night. A band was obliterating a Van Halen song, and everyone heard me scream, “You’re not even gonna’ swing?”
The second thing I said was, “Yeah, go ahead and point, (expletive),” to Brian Wilson.
My first thought was: "That’s what I get for bringing up Beltran to Mets fans."
This was a terribly disappointing moment to close out the 2010 season. The Giants pitching owned the Phillies for the most part, and I realized that Brian Wilson was unquestionably the biggest tool on earth.
The cherry on top of all this was Wilson turning around and doing that ridiculous finger point to praise Satan, or whatever that means to him.
6. Victorino and Pence Trades
Before you are overcome with rage, I want you to know that this isn’t what it looks like.
It’s not disappointing that these two clumsy, undisciplined outfielders were dealt. The idea behind it is what was disappointing.
This was, effectively, the Phillies waving the white flag for the 2012 season.
With this move, Ruben Amaro, Jr. resigned himself to the fact that his team was out of contention, and shifted his focus toward next year and the future.
Victorino was shipped to LA because of the money he will command in free agency, which will likely be a price that Amaro won’t be able to match.
Hunter Pence, on the other hand, was a disappointment. He couldn’t hit with runners in scoring position, and he proved himself to be uncoachable, swinging at everything all willy-nilly, looking goofy in the outfield, and ultimately not being the player the Phillies had hoped they were getting when they traded for him.
Although this video doesn't communicate the point I'm making exactly, it's a gem nonetheless. And, when you think about it, you can't help but feel the song's message. It was sad to say good-bye to the outfield. But, it was necessary.
5. Shane Victorino Grounds out to End the 2009 World Series
In a postseason that saw the likes of Cliff Lee and Chase Utley perform on a level akin to the immortals, Pedro Martinez return to the Bronx and the Phillies try to repeat as world champions, Shane Victorino grounded out to second, and it was all over.
I was surrounded by Yankee fans when this happened. I was standing behind the couch in my living room, holding an empty 30 pack box, which I put on my head. Ah, college.
The Yankees fans were absolutely insufferable afterward. Most of them dusted off their baseball caps for the playoffs, while diehards like me suffered the agony of defeat amidst their glory.
Not to knock Yankee fans as whole—the ones who are dedicated are dedicated—but, for the most part, this hurt because they couldn’t have appreciated it the way Phillies fans would have.
Yankees fans haven’t suffered the slings and arrows of perennial underachievement. They have so many titles, and to see them win another at the expense of my Phillies while I wallowed in my own self-pity was terrible.
4. 2011 NLDS Finale
The final game of this series saw Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter, two former teammates, turn in one of the most epic playoff pitching duels in recent memory.
The Phils lost this series in part because of its shortened length, and in part because of a red hot Cardinals team. But, it was mostly because the bats didn't show up.
2011 was supposed to be the Phillies’ year if there ever was one. With a pitching rotation that featured four of the game's legitimate aces, and a batting order stacked with guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Hunter Pence, this on-paper super-team got outplayed on every level by a Cardinals team that almost missed the playoffs.
The guy in this video is absolutely terrific. Enjoy him. To warn you, though, he uses a bit of profanity.
3. Ryan Howard Tears His Achilles
To add insult to injury, when the Phillies lost the 2011 NLDS, Ryan Howard tore his Achilles in the process of recording the last out.
I was sitting next to my then-girlfriend, who is a nursing student, and I put my head on the bar immediately after Howard hit the ball: I knew he was out. I didn’t see him hobble, but I did hear her say “Oh, Achilles!”
My first thought was, of course, “No!”
It turns out, she was right.
Not only had Ryan Howard ended the Phillies’ season for the second straight year, but he also inadvertently jeopardized the 2012 season.
Every sports fan knows that an Achilles tear can be devastating to an athlete’s career, and this was not going to be an exception. Moreover, we all knew it.
Sorry the quality of the video is so poor. You probably shouldn't even watch it.
2. The Phils Lose Their Voice
Oh, man, talk about a heartbreaker.
For me, Harry Kalas sounds like the summertime. His voice literally brings me back to summers in back my yard throwing a baseball for hours on end, every day, using old furniture for targets, and then watching Rico Brogna and the Sillies lose every night.
His voice was the manifestation of the passion of Phillies fans. His excitement, his disappointment, and his joy all have resonated with the fan base for decades.
It's a shame that we'll never hear the Voice's famous "Outta' Here!," or "Struck him out!" again. But, it was great while we had it.
I feel sorry for you if you never had the opportunity to bask in the splendors of Harry’s game calling. Here’s a tribute that will give you a great example if you haven’t, and a great memory if you have.
1. The Streak Ends
Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images
When this happened, I got the idea for this slideshow. It really hit home for me. Finally, the fans are realizing that the Phillies aren’t worth it.
Citizens Bank Park has been the place to be on game night for quite some time. But, after 257 consecutive straight games of as much fan participation as the Phillies could get, it was time the fans came to the conclusion that their beloved Phils were toast.
This is significant because it marks the end of the most dominant era of baseball in Philadelphia history. That’s what makes it the most disappointing moment since that glorious 2008 championship.
Those great teams we saw will ultimately go down as the dynasty that never was.
Sorry, but there’s no video for this. It’s abstract. But, sometimes, the intangibles can give you a better perspective.