Wednesday, October 08, 2008

2008 Phillies: Why Not Us?

As we focus on MLB's final four teams, I feel sort of lucky that a second of my four favorite sports teams were able to make it to their sports final four participants (the Flyers being the other). If your team is out of the hunt for the World Series right now, I think I can break it down for you and let you know why you should most assuredly be rooting for the Phillies.

1.) The Other 3 Cities Have Recently Won Stuff. Think about it.

Tampa won a Super Bowl after the 2002 season and they won the 2004 Stanley Cup. And by the way: they won both of those championships by going through a Philadelphia team. Besides, no one in Tampa gives a damn about sports when their team isn't good. Do I have to remind you there is no income tax in Florida?

LA? They had the Shaq and Kobe years, which like, just happened 5 minutes ago. And LA has all the hot actresses you can gape at in addition to beautiful weather. Not worthy.

And do you really need me to get into it about Boston???

Trust me, Philly needs this championship more than Wall Street needs more cheap loans.

2.) The way the team was built. I wish I could say it was by design that the Phillies are in contention. The previous GM did not really have a plan for the Phils, but the Phils were built through the draft (5 of their starting 8 were Phillies draft products), sound free agent acquisitions (namely, Jayson Werth and Chad Durbin), and shrewd trades (getting Jamie Moyer from the M's, Brad Lidge from the 'Stros). Furthermore, there are no Alex Rodgriguez-like salaries on this team.

It's funny, but the Tampa Bay Rays are often lauded for having developed their own talent, but you could make this same case for the Phils. Where would the Phils be without Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Ryan Madson, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Brett Myers, and Shane Victorino (Rule 5 draftee)? All of those players were drafted by the Phils and figure prominently in their success.

3.) The Phillies players are really a likable group. Hate on the fans all you want, but these Phillies players are a great group.

Rollins may have called out the fans earlier this year, but he comes up big on the bigger stages and does everything with style. Shane Victorino is such a ball of energy, that the manager needs to remind him to tone it DOWN once in awhile. What is not to like about the short, crisp swing of Chase Utley? And the Big Man, Ryan Howard.....outside of Albert Pujols, he is as powerful a hitter as there is in baseball. Who wouldn't want to sit and have a beer with Pat Burrell as he tells you how he REALLY feels about Billy Wagner?

And don't forget about Brad Lidge, coming back from the baseball dead, Jayson Werth overcoming years of injury problems to realize his potential, and our ace in the making, Cole Hamels.

We may boo, cajole, complain, and catcall on occasion, but Phillies fans genuinely like this team.

So feel free to hop on the bandwagon, America*. Beers at McFadden's are on me**.

* Note: Offer does not apply to Mets fans.
** Note: I really can't afford to buy America beer.

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