Well, here we are on the morning of the second half of the 2010 season off the heels of the All Star Game in Anaheim with the National League’s first win since 1996 headed by Charlie Manuel; and halfway through a strange, unlucky, and sometimes baffling season of Phillies baseball. It seems like yesterday that many of us made the trek down to Washington for the debut of Roy Halladay back in April. On that day, in my first entry for this blog, I wrote about the kind of team the 2010 Phillies were. And how they showed us on Opening Day; the 11 run offensive outburst, stellar defense, and the first of many dazzling outings from our much coveted ace. No one could have foreseen the offensive slump that has seemed to have plagued us all season, the lack of run support for our starting rotation, or the endless and countless injuries.
But then something funny happened. After a disappointing series with the first place Braves, and some misplaced blame on the fans by Shane Victorino; many of us wondered where this season was going, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who doubted if this was the same team of the last two seasons. It started with the improbable home run from Brian Schneider to open the series. The next night seemed like the Phillies were back in their slump; with no inspiration from the previous night. That is, until Greg Dobbs, Cody Ransom had their say; capped with the exclamation point by Ryan Howard. Then there was the almost perfecto, until a double by Chooch on his first game back from the disabled list, and a RBI single from Jimmy Rollins to provide the only run they would need. Capping off the four game sweep was a dazzling one run win spearheaded by Cole Hamels.
By now, you already know that baseball isn’t for the faint of heart. The ups and downs aren’t for everyone; a true baseball fan knows to be in it for the long haul takes patience and thick skin. They also know how much sweeter th payoff of a 162 game season is to be the last one standing on a chilly night in October. And, we can still get there. The Phillies are a second half team in a division race that is anything but over. We’re still the team of the past two seasons, and perhaps this series is what it took to remind our 25 guys who they are; and reminded a passionate fan base that there is still reason to believe for that one night in October.
So before you change the channel, or leave that game early – remember who this team is. Remember when you think things can’t get any worse, that we’re still the lucky ones – with players and a team and a chance to win that every baseball fan longs for. The ones who can pull off three improbable walks offs in three nights, the ones who see their ace pitch a perfect game, one of the few that despite the countless injuries and endless offensive slump still only find themselves a few games back – a team that may get down sometimes, and in our case really down, but are certainly never to be counted out.
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