For the last five preseasons, the prognosticators picked the Fightin’s either to win the World Series or go deep into the playoffs. Not this year.
All the baseball annuals predict that the Phillies will finish third in the National League’s Eastern Division behind the favored Washington Nationals and the second-place Atlanta Braves. Not even a wild-card playoff berth in sight. Nor do the experts pull any punches.
One scout writes that “the aging core of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard might have less range than a refrigerator showroom.” Another claims that the recent acquisitions of third baseman Michael Young and outfielders Ben Revere and Delmon Young indicate that the front office is “grasping at straws in trying to squeeze every ounce out of that old championship core.”
Others insist that pitching ace Roy Halladay “doesn’t figure to bounce back from his sore right shoulder” and that the “clock is ticking for manager Charlie Manuel,” who could be replaced by third-base coach Ryne Sandberg before the season’s end. In short, the dynasty that never materialized is finished.
Don’t believe it just yet. The Phillies have history on their side.
... Like the 1980 World Champions, the 2013 Phillies have something to prove. If they can stay within a half-dozen games of first place for most of the season and play their best baseball in September, they, too, can find themselves in another World Series.
Let’s just hope that none of the current Phillies read this column.
Posted: March 01, 2013 at 06:24 AM | 10 comment(s)
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