|Wishing this man all the luck in the world this season, he's going to need it.|
The Philadelphia Phillies will begin their 2015 campaign this afternoon in South Philadelphia against the Boston Red Sox. It should easily be the most attended game of the season and will most likely be the only time the Phillies aren't below .500 for the year.
As the season begins it's safe to say that this is the least anticipated season in Phillies memory for anybody younger than 30 years old. I can't remember a time when there was less hope or future for a professional sports team. The fact that the people responsible for the decisions that turned a juggernaut into a laughing stock in the blink of an eye is a cruel joke played on the fans. It's insulting to our intelligence.
I normally run a season preview that breaks down the different aspects of the team but there is really no need for that this season. It's all garbage, trust me. Earlier this past week, the official Vegas lines came out for the over/under of win totals for each team in the league. The Phils came in at either 66.5 or 67.5 wins for the year depending on what site you're looking at. That is 4 games lower than any other team in Major League Baseball (The DBacks are 71.5). Vegas generally knows what they're doing if you haven't been paying attention to betting lines for the past 50 years.
I laughed at that number with the feeling that there is no way this collection of has-beens and never-will-bes (minus Cole Hamels) will be able to win that many games. Here is the text conversation that ensued from there between a few of my closest friends and I.
A few asterisks on the statements I made (I'm in blue).
*Carlos Ruiz is 36
*Darin Ruf will turn 29 in July
*Cliff Lee is not dead
So it will be an incredibly odd experience following this team this year. I'll tune in to catch the (luxury) train wreck that is the end of Ryan Howard's career. I'll tune in for Hamels' starts in the hope that he can be the best pitcher in the NL and net the biggest possible return for his services in a trade. I'll tune in to watch Chase Utley play in a shell of what Chase Utley used to be. I'll tune in to watch Freddy Galvis hit .215 and not be half the defensive shortstop Jimmy Rollins was. I'll tune in to watch Ben Revere be the weakest hitting corner outfielder (and really any position) in Major League Baseball. I'll tune in to laugh at anybody who starts a game for the Phils not named Cole Hamels. I'll tune in to pray Jonathan Papelbon can duplicate last season's performance so he can get traded off this team. I'll tune in to watch Ken Giles and Jake Diekman throw 100 MPH as over-worked set-up men. I'll tune in to see if the new Rule 5 center fielder, Odubel Herrera, has any discernible major league talent. I'll tune in to laugh and cry at anything that involves Dom Brown. I'll tune in to see if the new man in the booth, Ben Davis, will be better to listen to than Jamie Moyer. I'll tune in more to the radio than the TV broadcast because Larry Andersen is that good.
Just know that I'll be tuning in way less than any year for the last 20 because the Phillies don't deserve our attention this year. The management was so insanely short-sighted that they don't deserve to be rewarded with high ratings or more than a half-full stadium. Maybe this is cynical, but considering Ruben Amaro is still calling the shots I feel like it's the only way to be.
I do love the Phillies, it's just a different kind of love these days. Here's to better days in the distant future..