Phillies: Eerily Familiar, Predictably Resilient, Phils On The Brink Yet Again
Can someone take their finger off the replay button? Last year is over.
Sure, it was a great run. We get it. It was a run even Dr. Seuss couldn't have conjured up in his wildest dreams.
The clincher was magical. The parade was dizzying. The feeling was indescribable.
But that's all over. That was last year. That kind of run doesn't just happen every year. A performance such as that cannot, or at least should not, be feasibly replicated.
Somebody forgot to tell that to the Phillies.
This team overcame the laxity of a comfortable September. This team ignored the calls for panic in the bullpen. This team put the clamps on the hottest team going into the playoffs. And now this team is poised to prove all the "experts" wrong, again.
They said the Dodgers had the hotter starting pitching, more consistent lineup, and stouter bullpen. They said Joe Torre had the moxie to keep his team firing on all cylinders. They said this team simply had too much talent to fold.
It was believed that the bullpen would be the Phillies' undoing. It was believed that their streaky bats would disappear at the hands of two Phillies castoffs. And it was believed that Charlie Manuel wouldn't be able to pull the rabbit out of his hat again.
They were wrong.
Thus far, Cliff Lee has been every bit the pitcher the fans clamored for at the trading deadline. The bats—for the most part—have been strikingly consistent.
Charlie Manuel has orchestrated his band to a nearly perfect tune. Heck, if Brad Lidge continues on his current path of success, it could be the single greatest postseason turnaround in the history of the sport.
Everything has fallen into place beautifully. Ruben Amaro looks more intelligent every day.
One day, Cliff Lee is throwing a complete game gem in Game One of the NLDS, the next day, Ben Francisco, a throw-in in the Lee deal, is making what could have amounted to be one of the most significant catches in the Phillies' postseason history.
All of this is so familiar though. It all seemed to work out so well last year...too well. I bet few could have predicted a similar ride.
But that's exactly what October has been this year, possibly even better up to this point.
So, to those of you who shake this off as yet another lucky streak, I beg you to look again. This sustained, continued success is no accident.
The fact that Matt Stairs started Game Four's rally is no coincidence. That Chan Ho Park has played an integral role, good or bad, in this series is no mistake. Everyone is here for a reason; everyone plays a role.
And to those fans who still fear absolute acceptance of having a true winner in this town: stop! Stop doubting. Stop worrying.
These are not the '04 Eagles. They aren't the '01 76ers. This isn't the '93 Phillies.
This is the 2009 Philadelphia Figthin' Phillies; a team full of character, leaders, and oozing with resolve.
So, we thought the ride this team took us on last October was the end of an unbelievable season. But is it possible that it was only the beginning of a run the likes of which Philadelphia has never seen before?
Is it possible that last year was simply the first in a long line of success stories?
It may very well be, but even if it's not, enjoy the ride. They rarely come this often.
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