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It’s Always Bittersweet in Philadelphia

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, September 18, 2007 07:14 AM | Comments: 3
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The Phillies are facing the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m not talking about the chance to overtake the Wild Card, or topple the Mets. I’m referring to that rare opportunity when a city infused with football fans looks for solace elsewhere. The Eagles are embarrassing, the Phillies are exciting. Sure last night’s Phils game was a hot mess – as they let an 11 run lead slip away – but it wasn’t as bad as the game at the Linc. I’m not looking to hate on the Eagles, but I hope Philadelphians will hold out at the start of this football season in hopes of a renewed contract with our baseball team. In many ways, the Phillies are a lot like the Eagles of a couple years ago – a solid team of stars, who consistently compete but can’t quite get the job done. Fortunately for the Phils, their window will still be open for another 3-5 years. Nonetheless, now is the time.

The Phils are 1.5 out of the Wild Card and 2.5 behind the Mets going into tonight’s game. A game which will feature a returning Cole Hamels. This is a big game for the brash young pitcher. Although he’s been injured plenty of times before, he has yet to return to the team during a critical time in the season. The team has been rolling without him and can ill-afford a disruption in that flow. We all know Cole is great, and he knows it himself, but can he handle pitching while not at 100%? Is his ego too big to not be dominating all the time? At first consideration, I thought this might be a problem, but then I remembered one of Cole’s strong suits is his versatility. While he does not have a dazzling array of pitches at his disposal, he has the keen ability to recognize during a game which pitches are working and which are not. Furthermore Hamels can aptly execute any of his three main pitches (fastball, curve, change-up) to get outs.

The Phils will need as much as they can get out of Cole tonight. Charlie is going to have him on a short leash with a pitch count that will top out around 70. This means the bullpen will certainly come into play tonight. Going into last night’s game, the ‘pen had posted a 0.93 ERA in the last four Phillies victories. Plus the last five wins overall were garnered by Geoff Geary (2), Brett Myers, Tom Gordon and Antonio Alfonseca. Last night was a different story as six guys made the trip from the bullpen to the mound to try to stop the team from hemorrhaging runs. The team escaped with the win, but it’s certainly not a formula the Phils are looking to tonight as the pressure will be on both Cole and his relievers.

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About Brian Michael

Brian Michael has written 1138 articles on Phillies Nation.

Brian is the CEO of Phillies Nation which he founded in July of 2004.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Dan

    I’m not sure that Cole can get away with only 70 pitches. Bret, Flash, and J.C., did all sit out yesterday, so they should be fresh for today, but they have to still be a little tired, and you don’t want another situation in a few days where all you have in the pen are guys that don’t exactly bring their A game.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ronnie Norpel

    Hi, Brian,

    Did you receive my email yesterday? I wanted to make sure, so below is cut and paste of first document. Email me if you want the rest…

    The Curse Shall Be Lifted, pass it on!

    Ronnie Norpel
    Phillies 80-86

    ****

    Now, Constitution Day,
    is the time for all good homers to come to the aid of their ball club.

    I, Ronnie Norpel, a person of Philadelphia, in order to form a more perfect Team, re-align its Karma, provide for the Communion of Fans, promote their general well-being, and secure the Blessings of a Championship for ourselves and our Posterity, do

    Ordain and Establish

    The Constitution Blues as our antidote.

    We have come to believe that a curse befell our team years ago, for reasons as yet unrevealed. The Constitution Blues is a fiction steeped in authenticity, a literary conceit of love for our hometown team —an attempt to lift said curse.

    August 30th at Woody’s in North Wildwood, two committed Phillies fans made my afternoon as we shared the glorious torture of watching the Phils sweep the Mets. Turns out Chuck was a Vet Coke vendor before my own tenure. He laughed to tell of meeting Tug—“…then he said, ‘Well, I can’t sign YOUR autograph, but I’ll give you MINE!’” Jerry arrived sweaty in time for the eighth on a personal best—two minutes from Moor’s Inlet by bike. His cap was the white one with the red P and red beak. The next day my crack chiropractor brother and I hit the boardwalk, where I spotted a t-shirt. The cartoon skeleton on it sported a Phillies cap too—and an Eagles jersey, Sixers and Flyers pennants. Below were the words:

    DIE HARD PHILLY FAN – WAITING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP.

    Two days later, I met Rick at Mitch and Bootsie’s wedding beach bash on Barnegat Bay. Rick was wearing his life-long commitment on his shoulder: a fresh tattoo of the Phillies starry-i’d logo with the whooshing baseball. “After the Mets sweep, I had to. We’re gonna do it!” Rabid fan alert! My pa made the mistake of telling him I had been a ballgirl for the team. I always feel the need to add, “…and I sold the most season tickets one year and started Fan Accommodations.” When Rick asked me how they paid, I explained that his fuss over me just then was the Phillies halo effect: you can’t buy groceries with it, but sometimes it does the trick.

    The Constitution Blues is for Chuck, Jerry, Rick and all the Phillies fans who came before them—ones I am related to and ones I sold those season tickets to, ones I seated at the Vet, and ones I only spoke to on the phone, ones whose missing children I helped find, those children I snuck Press Club ice cream to though their parents were pissed they got lost, those who toil in that Press Club, and those who draft us our beers, ones who have been to hundreds of games, and those who have never been but watch religiously on ‘the cable,’ for those who play our pastime and those who know why there is no clock in baseball:

    It’s never over til it’s over.

    For my old teammates, and today’s. And, of course, for Charlie Manuel, the one who cried for help.

    Now, Constitution Day, is the time for all good homers to come to the aid of their ball club.

    The Curse Shall Be Lifted.

    Ronnie Norpel
    September 17, 2007

     
  • Posts: 0 Greg

    Never Say Die! Let’s get an exodus of Phils fans down to DC and make it 4 HOME games!

    Given the glut of injuries this year, especially to our pitching staff (up and down the affiliates as well), any chance of a shake-up in trainers and coaching?

     
 
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