After watching Cliff Lee walk off the mound last night in pain with another elbow injury, I was pretty depressed. I was depressed earlier in the day after the Phillies did absolutely nothing at the trade deadline. But this was a whole new level of sadness. Because at that moment, I realized something; watching Phillies baseball just isn’t fun anymore.
Baseball is supposed to be fun. Remember when Roy Halladay said, “It’s only gonna get funner”? Ah, memories… Because where did all the fun go? Even when the Phillies sucked back in the early 1990’ and early 2000’s, it was still fun to watch. And on those teams, the players had fun playing, even when they were awful. Remember in 2003 when a bunch of players dyed their hair bleach blonde? They sucked…but it was fun! I still had a good time going to those games. But now, it feels like going to a funeral. So why is it so different now?
I have come up with two reasons: 1) There was hope back then. 2) The 2008 World Series changed the landscape of Phillies baseball.
Phillies fans have lost hope. Why? Because the current incarnation of this team and their management have made the same mistakes over and over and over. They refuse to make big changes and when they do make changes, the results are bad. Go back to the Cliff Lee trade. You know what the Phillies got for him…nothing. Ok, count Phillippe Aumont if you must, but he is a head case who is going nowhere. They traded Hunter Pence and got nothing. Here are a few other not-so-fun names to remember…Freddie Garcia, Adam Eaton, the contracts of Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon and others, no trade clauses, etc. And the list goes on…
When you do the same thing repeatedly, how can you expect different results? You can’t. And therein lays the total lack of hope. As long as the same people are in charge and the same scouts are making bad decisions, nothing will change. And that is truly depressing.
And about that 2008 World Series…the Phillies have been on a steady decline since they lost the series in 2009. Phillies fans got a short taste of success and now, we expect it. Maybe that is not fair, but such is life.
Frankly, the way they Phillies have raised ticket prices every year and cancelled events (like the Phan Fest at Spring Training), giving us less access to players, is also a sore spot for fans. If you are going to take away some of my season ticket holder benefits, charge me more and give me less, then I EXPECT a superior product. And in that way, I feel fans are justified in their rage. Now that the team is awful, do you think ticket prices will go down? No way…because they have to PAY for all of their mistakes and ridiculous contracts. Or should I say, we the fans will pay? Or we will just stop coming to games as many have done already.
Because why should I have to pay to attend a funeral? Why should I pay to see players who are just as depressed as I am? And there you have it…NO FUN.
If the Phillies want to bring back the fun, they need to fire everyone in the front office and all of the scouts and start over. Give us something to look forward to. Give us a little hope. It is either that, or prepare to play to an empty stadium.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography