Philadelphia Phillies Postseason Disappointment

In 2008, Brad Lidge celebrates their World Series win.
As a lifelong Philadelphia Phillies fan, I am familiar with stinging disappointment that comes with defeat. However, this season seemed like the perfect season for them to reclaim their title as champions. The Phillies compiled the seemingly unbeatable team with 4 of the leagues leading pitchers. The Phillies mapped out their return route to the World Series, and they even managed to avoid roadblocks, such as early season injuries to Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, and keep moving forward. After setting a franchise record 102-wins, their reclamation of the World Series title appeared inevitable, so what happened?

Sports is a business unlike any other. As sports history prove time and time again, the team that has the best statistics on paper does not always win. As the season entered September, the St. Louis Cardinals were 8 games behind the Wild Card leading Atlanta Braves. However, the Cards stormed through their final month, and the Phillies opened the door to their playoff berth with their 3 game sweep of the Braves, which effectively ended Atlanta's playoff hopes. Similarly in 2008, the Phillies shocked the New York Mets by sneaking past them in the final weeks of the season to steal the Wild Card, which led to their eventual World Series victory. The Cardinals exemplified that same excitement the Phillies exuded during that magical season.

Sadly, I have not seen the Phillies express that same excitement and optimism from that season, and I continue to wonder, "Why?" Could it be...

  • The expectations for victory?: When the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, no one expected them to even make it to the playoffs. They had not won the series since 1980--6 years before I was even born!--and were only a playoff contender a handful of times since then. However, it seems since they won the series, they unwittingly sealed their fate and fans demand another championship and will not accept anything less.
  • The aging starters?: With their core starters nearing their mid-30s, it does make one wonder how many more years they can keep playing. The end of the season not only ended their hopes for another championship, but it signaled the end of shortstop, Jimmy Rollins, contract. While Rollins is among the league's best shortstops, he was plagued by injury at the beginning of the season. Although he did provide key plays in the postseason, the Phillies cannot ignore his age. If the Phillies do not re-sign him, they will only further dismantle the 2008 championship team in hopes of building the next championship team. 

I will forever be a Phillies fan, but I just wish they could relight the spark that fueled them in 2008 because during that season, they never gave up.

1 comment:

  1. I remember the night they won the Series. It was on your birthday and I thought I could have saved money and not bought you a gift because you finally got the one you really wanted!