Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008 Major League Baseball World Series Champions!
Let's all take a step back and put things into perspective...
The Defending Champ's are suddenly playing and looking like, the defending champ's.
This year, the Phightin' Phils got off to a mediocre start and remained in first place in what everyone thought would be a very tough NL East.
Thanks to underachieving play across the board (with exception of the lowly AAA National's team) the Phillies were able to stave off the first half runs of Atlanta, Florida, and I guess New York can be mentioned here as well.
Currently they find themselves up 7 games over both the Fish and Native American's. That is good for the largest lead in the NL East this season. Well done Philadelphia.
The Phils have been 'hampered' by the 'distraction' of obtaining Captain America (hopefully soon-to-be as he is currently Captain Canada). In fact, every Phillies personality besides the brass have openly admitted to wanting Doc Halladay in pinstripes sooner than later.
Even at the expense of 'selling the farm' as so many media outlets eloquently put it.
Myself included. I want Halladay here, now. Like, right right now.
The only people alive right now (not living in Toronto, Miami, Atlanta, or New York - notice I assume D.C.'ers are indifferent) who don't want to see the former Cy Young award winner here consists of a few pitchers.
Mainly Rodrigo Lopez - the AAA veteran call-up who has performed well in his stint at the top level.
J.A. Happ, if dealt, would stay in Philly if he had his druthers. Again that is only an assumption. I'm sure Toronto has it's fair share of beautiful women and scenery, but one has to assume that Happ would rather stay here and play for a legitimate World Series contender.
Jamie Moyer, while having just won his 10th game last night, may be relegated to the bullpen if Halladay shows up without having to move Happ. Here is what the rotation might look like if Ruben Amaro Jr. is able to make the trade while preserving Happ.
2) Halladay/Hamels (these two are interchangeable and would be set based upon the righty/lefty benefits of either starting)
5) Martinez (oh yea! the Phillies now have the 'Zimmer-Killer')
If Happ exits stage left, P-Mart and Moyer can be flippy floppied (Andy Samberg anyone?) again based on right/lefty matchups.
Now that I've done my due dilligence addressing the trade rumors, let's talk about how red-hot the Phightin' have been this month.
The bats have really come alive and the pitching is regressing to the mean after an absolutely terrible start to the season.
So far in the month of July, the 'good guys' are 18 - 5. Wow. They still hold the best road record for both leagues at 30 - 15. Wow. Over the last nine games, the Phillies have outscored opponents 63 - 34. Wow.
This team's chemistry is starting to remind me an awful lot of 365 days ago... and I for one, am starting to get excited for the next couple of months.
I was lucky enough to be one of the 46K who saw game 5 (both parts) of the World Series last year. I've held partial season tickets (Sunday Plan) for half a decade (impressive as I'm still only 26 right? lol) and will most certainly be purchasing my post-season options again this year as the Phils look to make it 3 straight division crowns and the first NL team to repeat since the '75-'76 Reds.
With or without Doc Halladay, this team has a REAL shot at repeating... I would estimate those odds at about 15-20%... If Halladay shows up in pinstripes, that number increases to around 35-40%. Hey, I'm trying to be realistic here, nothing in baseball is a SCLPL(c). Stone Cold Lead Pipe Lock (credit: Geoff Crawley).
Local radio personality Mike Missanelli (950ESPN Philadelphia Radio) has been speaking about Phillies Phans needing a mindset change. Change from the last two and a half decades, change from being a team that NEEDS to keep prospects for the future. Change to a team that has arrived. Change from being a nobody, to an almost-there. Change into being an 'elite' team.
The Phillies have made that change. They are elite. They are big market. They sell out almost every home game. They are the defending champs. They are one of the best teams in baseball.