In case you have never read my blog, I am a Phillies fan, so I am predicting some of you may chalk up this post as bias, but I pray you, read on.
The Phillies have just come off of a World Series Championship, and what has been a trend for world series teams the year after?
Colorado, Detroit, St. Louis, Houston, Chicago, Florida, San Francisco, the list goes on.
The exceptions are Boston and Anaheim, who were able to stay in contention following a world series appearance. The Rays are a young team under contract and look to remain a core group for at least the next couple seasons. The Phillies, however, have the potential to be broken up and sold piece by piece withing the next year or two. Their time to win is now or they may suffer another rebuilding phase.
The funny thing about Philadelphia is once we get a few wins under our belts, we are spoiled. It happened with the Flyers, Sixers, the Eagle most recently, and now the Phils. So my guess is that anything less than another championship next year will be seen as failure in the eyes of Philadelphians.
What can I say?
We have high standards.
I know a little too much about sports business to know that’s much easier said than done; and while my love for the team is greater than most, it isn’t enough to blind my judgment.
I heard someone on ESPN say that the Phillies dubbed Manny Ramirez as “too expensive” for the club. Well, that may be, but now is not the time to get cheap, Ruben. If it’s money you’re worried about, don’t. Philly fans would hand over their mortgage to see him in left field. I know I would (if I had one). We’re that phanatical.
Pat Burrell may or may not sign. If he does, great, he’s a cornerstone to the organization. But if he doesn’t, they need to go after Manny and go after him aggressively. Burrell leaves a big hole in the field and in the lineup. Manny’s not the type of player to fit into the 5-spot but that’ll be Charlie manuel’s problem.
The Phillies would also need more power from the right side of the plate without Burrell. Utley and Howard who provide most of the lineup’s power hit from the left and the switch-hitting Rollins and Victorino hit for more power from the left as well. Werth is a solid role player but isn’t consistent enough as a power-hitter to fit the need. If they can’t replace Burrell with a righty of comparative power, they’ll have more trouble against leftys in 2009 than in 2008. Overall, even the left-handed hitters in their lineup had good numbers versus southpaws in ’08, but the absence of a righty may change that.
If I were in Ruben Amaro Jr.’s position, I would want Manny just to show the organization, the team and the fans that winning is his prime objective.
But I’m not Ruben Amaro Jr., and maybe I’m not in his position because I’m a complete moron and I should stick to blogging. I have faith that the team will do what they can to continue to win championships. I don’t want to see a great team like the 2008 Phillies be dismantled like the 1997 Marlins. I know that won’t happen this year, but I am more than familiar with the rise and fall of Philadelphia teams.
The window of opportunity is small and closes fast. That is what I think the true curse of Billy Penn. The Phils were able to get a championship in before the window closed but who knows how much longer it will be open?
As a fan of the game, I normally advocate a different team win every year, but that was before my team won it all. I don’t want to be a spoiled fan, but I know in the back of my mind that if we don’t win another one soon, it could be another 28 years.
I don’t want this city to go through that again.
Make a play.