We just witnessed the delightful flameout of the Miami Heat, a team that came into its season touted as a super-team (not least by the team itself) thanks to a major new acquisition of a dominant superstar. You could also describe this year’s Phillies in similar terms, though Matt Babiarz at Philly2Philly says that’s where the similarities end between the two teams:
The obvious difference between the Phillies and the Heat, however, was the level of decorum with which they approached those expectations. The Phillies have been the anti-Heat, exhibiting nothing but class from the introductory press conferences, to the humble interviews, to the selfless approach to the games themselves.
And he’s right, of course. LeBron James was insufferably arrogant in the way he joined the Heat and then assumed a title would be his instantly. The Phillies have gone about their business in much more deliberate fashion. And it should also be pointed out here that Miami’s Big Three and the Phillies’ Big Four are opposites in racial makeup, which I’m sure makes a big difference among uptight white fans who like their athletes all classy and scrappy and what not.
The other big difference between the two teams is that the Heat were essentially cobbled together out of nothing. They were assembled without any sense of continuity or chemistry, and it showed every time they dribbled down to the end of the shot clock and hoisted up a bad three-pointer. The Phillies, meanwhile, were very much an established team when they took in Cliff Lee. In fact, even without Lee, I dare say they’d probably still be leading the division. The Phillies didn’t just bring in four pitchers and then assemble the rest of the team by picking off the scrap heap. This is much more cohesive team than that, and therefore more fun to watch, and less prone to having people deride them as a cynical title grab.
But there’s still time for the Phillies to become a bunch of arrogant, insufferable blowhards that everyone wants to see go down in flames. Just tattoo "CHOSEN 1" on Cliff Lee’s back and we’ll be there in no time. Or the Phillies could win the next two World Series and become hated simply by virtue of winning a lot. Trust me, when you win that often, it doesn’t matter how classy you are. Haterz gon hate.