I’ll say this right now: I didn’t watch yesterday’s game (I am on vacation, so I think I get a pass). I heard that Kyle Kendrick struggled mightily in his first major league start, the Phillies left a considerable number of runners on base, and Ibanez continued to have a rough time at the plate. In the end, the Phillies couldn’t get everything together to win the game.
I logged on to twitter just as the game was ending, and was barraged by a series of (understandably) angry tweets. The anger came from many angles. Some were frustrated at the pitching, some at the hitting. And yet others were upset that the Phillies lost a game to the fucking Nationals, a team that barely knows the difference between their collective asses and a hole in the ground.
Of course the anger, shock, and frustration are all valid emotions to have when your team loses a game. You always want your team to do well. And coming off of two wins and a spring training that was full of such promise, the level of optimism was understandably high (not to mention that expectations of our beloved Phillies were and still are incredibly high). You expect Raul Ibanez to be able to hit a baseball. You expect Kyle Kendrick to pitch like the 3rd starter (even if just days ago he was being billed as a reliever).
Here’s the thing, and it’s something everyone has probably realized by now: The Phillies are going to lose. And not just once – the Phillies are going to lose multiple times this season. Probably even to the Mets, to the delight of my long-suffering Metsfriend. Beyond that, everyone is going to fuck up at least once. Howard will miss a catch at first. J-Roll will get tagged on a steal. Werth will misjudge a fly. Chooch will let the ball get away from him. And the almighty Doc will serve up a loss. It will happen. As fans, we will get frustrated with them when they do something boneheaded, or when they fail to do something vital.
There’s a quote that I recall, probably not word for word, and I can’t figure out where it’s from, but it goes like this: “There are 162 games in a baseball season. Everyone is going to win 54 games and everyone is going to lose 54 games. It’s what you do with the other 54 that really matters.” That quote has always stuck with me, and recalling it helps me temper my expectations in the early going. The Phillies are going to lose at least 54 games, and they’re going to win at least 54 games. As fans, we know this team has the grit and the talent to do something special with those other 54 games. For me, remembering this makes the losses (even the ones caused by senseless/preventable fuck-ups) seem less harsh.
Incidentally, if you happen to know where that quote is from, please let me know. It’s killing me.