The more champagne the Philadelphia Phillies spray in MLB clubhouses, the higher fans’ expectations and “expert’” doubt escalate.
Let’s take a break from the Manny and the Dodgers love fest and visit the reincarnation of the East Coast-West Coast Rivalry (minus the killing and the hip-hop—oh and the rivalry part, too.).
While my initial concerns remain, there are plenty of reasons why Philadelphia should not be ignored.
First, the past is the past—just ask any bitter Yankees fan or any of my ex-boyfriends. With the start of each series, teams begin a new season. The mention of the name “Phillies” invokes the word “losers” in the minds of many. This Phillies team, with 92 wins (eight more than the L.A. Dodgers, who played in a much weaker division), should not share that label.
Leave the past where it exists.
History may repeat itself, but it doesn’t create a pathway leading to the same result. If a team repeats a former fate, they create their own route. The trail that the Phils are blazing is one lined by success and positive factors.
Truth is, statistically, both teams are evenly matched. The deciding factors will be the ones that cannot be measured. The winner will be the team with the most drive, fervent passion, unbreakable resilience, and impenetrable psyche.
During the NLDS, the Phillies easily defeated the Milwaukee Brewers and showed that the pieces, measurable and immeasurable, are all in place; it’s just a matter of showing up on the same day.
Philadelphia flaunted a dominating starting rotation. The bullpen was a tad shaky, but Brad Lidge remained the dependable, non-2005, dominating Brad Lidge. The defense was impressive—even Ryan Howard showed off the leather. But when it seems like the slumbering offense is waking up, someone presses the snooze button.
Part of me sees the offense as the nice guy who’s trying to impress the woman of his dreams. He does everything in his power so that she will turn around and see that he’s the perfect guy. He’s opening car doors for her, watching the movies she likes, listening to music on her iPod, and even buying things that make her smile as they walk by a display window. All that effort and all he has to show for it is a hot best friend.
The Phillies offense needs to relax and let it flow. We’ve seen the greatness. We know it’s there. All the pressure does is weaken the flow of superiority.
The Dodgers are a formidable opponent and with their late-season confidence, things may get quite interesting.
In the NLCS, with the amount of skill, personality, and charm shared between the Phillies and Dodgers, we will see an excellent display of baseball. May the best team win.
Phillies Win NLCS 4-2