One of my favorite Phillies blog -- and one that should be atop any self-respecting fan’s bookmarks -- ZooWithRoy.com, had a bit to say about the state of the Phillies this morning, and boy, his words were not for the faint of heart. Continue with caution.
As everyone knows, the Phillies are in serious trouble and the roster is flawed and their offense stinks and Jimmy swings too early in the count and too many guys are past their peak and Ryan Howard's contract is terrible and there are too many lefties and Cliff Lee has given up runs and Victorino is a space cadet and basically their problems are way too huge to ever think about overcoming.
Oh yeah, also we have the best record in baseball.
Heavy stuff. He’s got a point, though. There is much hand wringing and way too much consternation about how this team performs (I am as guilty of that as anyone else) in both a macro (they can’t score runs) and in a micro (Jimmy Rollins is a terrible leadoff hitter) sense, and it feels like it’s worse this year then, well, ever.
That’s probably because (1) the expectations for this team are so high (and we are so used to seeing the Phils hit the death out of the ball), so that anything less than 10-2 wins are cause for concern and (2) things like Twitter, Facebook and this blog give us an outlet to react to everything immediately while providing a constant feedback machine that is always getting fed by snap judgments. That sort of thing is the perfect storm for a narrative that reads like this:
"Overachieving team is winning games despite being really terrible and the fans shouldn't get their hopes up."
But really, that couldn't be further from the truth. The Phillies are back to having the best record in baseball, despite brandishing an offense that has probably not performed up to its expectations or ability at this point. They are pitching and fielding the crap out of the ball, and getting the hits when they need to. Sure, it’d be nice to have 50 wins and a nice seven game lead in the division, but beggars, choosers, and all that.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this, listen to the penguin and enjoy the summer.