By Janet Spavlik (@PhanGrrl)
Nope, right now I’m not even close to being tired of the Halladay/holiday puns (give it ‘til about mid-May when I’ll be as over it as the term douche bag). And while I won’t score any points for originality, really, could the play on words be any more appropriate on opening day? It couldn’t have felt more like Christmas even if a fat guy in a red suit asked me to sit on his lap and tell him if I was naughty or nice (OK, so that only happened the one time and it wasn’t actually Christmas, but you get the point).
I was one of those fans that wanted the Phillies to acquire Roy Halladay at all costs. No, I didn’t realize the cost would be Cliff Lee. I was walking around with so many other fans in that dream-like “Who’s building a dynasty now, bitch?!” haze, thinking we’d have both Lee and Halladay in our starting rotation. But losing Lee (and yes, by the way, I do think it’s time we got over it and moved on) shouldn’t take away from the fact that we now have arguably the best pitcher in baseball wearing a Phillies uniform.
Halladay and the rest of the Phillies delivered as we expected them to – and then some – against a perpetually floundering Nationals teams. But it’s what we didn’t see out on the field today–Cole Hamels as the starting pitcher, and a closer (Brad Lidge or otherwise) who can effectively wrap up a win without a 10-run cushion (even though we had one) – that has me a bit worried moving into this 2010 season.
Hamels and Lidge seemed to arm wrestle all season last year to see who would ultimately lay claim to the “Biggest Hero to Zero” title after both delivered storybook performances in ‘08 (Lidge ended up winning that title, I’d say). Moving ahead, I’m slightly less worried about Hamels ability to come back from an inconsistent ‘09. But you simply can’t win a World Series without a reliable closer, and I’m doubtful Lidge is that guy anymore. And if he’s not, who steps up and effectively fills that role?
But a few lingering question marks aside, today was about pure indulgence for us die-hard Phillies fans who have waited months to see our team back on the field in regular season play. I think a conversation I had with a local on a recent business trip to Washington, D.C., sums it up best. After telling him I was from Philadelphia, he responded, “You Philly fans are lucky. One hell of a baseball team.”
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