I think I might be partially to blame for this. This, should we be rooting for the Phillies to lose to the Braves nonsense. In the week after Raul Ibanez’s grand slam the Phillies became an incompetent bunch, and people started hunting out easy playoff match-ups, not out of preference, but out of necessity. The Cardinals morphed into a juggernaut, and the mere mention of Jaime Garcia would make a nervous Phillies fan wee-wee in their diaper. The anyone but the Cardinals mentality turned an entire city in Braves fans. Until last night, of course, when many were left to ponder if the team would be better of losing to Atlanta–ushering them into the post-season.
The paradox is that the fans had spent the whole previous week saying the Phillies couldn’t enter the post-season on such a cold streak. They lost 8 in a row, and if the Braves swept they would have lost 11 of 12 entering their date with Arizona or Milwaukee. Was avoiding the Cardinals worth that type of slump? Not all match-ups are created equal. I’d love to face Mike Pelfrey every night, but that isn’t going to happen. I certainly see how you’d prefer Arizona to St. Louis, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that the Phillies are the best team in the National League, and have been all year.
Once again we’re too close to our own guys. We gloss over St. Louis’ late-inning collapse against the Mets last week, which highlighted their atrocious bullpen. We ignore the feared Jaime Garcia’s inability to beat the 100-loss Astros last night. I wouldn’t confuse the Cardinals with the 2007 Rockies. They’re playing all right, but as much credit goes to the total nosedive the Braves are performing. And, the Phillies are better than they were in 2007 as well.
I certainly was in the anti-Cardinals camp, and spouted that belief here. That’s why I’m going to shoulder some of the blame for our poor sense of self. That was just a projection, though. I didn’t foresee a situation where Phillies fans would be contemplating rooting against their own team–which you should never do. Now that it’s gotten down to this point, the Phillies will get who they get. I want to sweep the Braves right out of the playoffs, or force them into a one-game playoff, because if you can’t get by St. Louis, you aren’t going anywhere anyway.
I’m going to spend another day flying today, and so I’m going to use a plane analogy. The end of the season has felt a little bit like the stress of getting to an airport for an early morning flight. You can’t sleep well the night before because you’re afraid of over-sleeping. What if the security line is longer than it’s ever been? What if the I.D. that I’ve checked in my pocket 5 times disappears? What I’m saying is, you worry about things you really shouldn’t be worried about, but then when you plunk yourself down in a seat at the gate 40 minutes before your flight even starts boarding you realize what a waste of time it all was. You know how to catch and flight, and the Phillies know what they are doing too. When Roy Halladay steps onto the mound in game one, I hope the comfort and confidence level returns for Phillies fans, regardless of the match-up.
Are the Marlins really going to pay Ozzie Guillen 4 million dollars a year to manage? What’s the Marlins payroll? Are they actually going to spend money in the new stadium, because if they aren’t, this hiring makes no sense. You’re going to count on your manager to create interest? Is this A League of Their Own? I heard a passing rumor last week that the Marlins were going to get in the Albert Pujols mix. Now, that would be a statement, and an incredibly odd choice by Pujols. Of course, it won’t happen, and Ozzie will end up going out of his mind sometime during year two. Miami Marlins Fever. Catch it.
So, I saw Moneyball. I read the book years ago, and I have a working knowledge of the A’s during those years. I think it’s interesting that when the movie finally came out, people starting picking at the whole theory. The A’s really weren’t winning because of Scott Hatteberg. They were winning because of Hudson, Mulder and Zito and Eric Chavez could still hit over his weight, etc. That doesn’t really have anything to do with the movie, though. I think the less you know about Moneyball, the more you may like the film. I’m certainly not going to put it in the upper echelon of baseball movies, but Brad Pitt was good and I found myself enjoying his rapport with Jonah Hill in spite of myself. If you harbor any resentment toward MLB Scouts, you’ll love the film, because they get hammered the entire time. For those wondering, they did not create a movie ending. The A’s still did not win the 2002 World Series.