Even before the Division Series round of the 2012 MLB postseason is complete, the Phillies -- absent for the first time in six years -- have made their presence felt.
Between walkoff blasts from Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez, and rallying clubhouse speeches and gutty play from Hunter Pence, the influence of the temporarily dormant National League titans in Philadelphia can be seen around the country.
Undeniably, the clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park has become Victory's Incubator. Players like Werth, Ibanez, and Pence have taken the lessons and attitudes acquired in Philadelphia around the league, like baseball Johnny Appleseeds, but for wins instead of apples.
We have seen Raul Ibanez take the Gospel up the New Jersey Turnpike (a latter day Road to Damascus) to our friends in the Bronx, Championshipless for nearly three years. And Jayson Werth with his walkoff inspiration in Washington for a franchise that has never even sniffed the promised land. And Hunter Pence, despite his short tenure in Philadelphia, re-teaching his complacent 2010 Champion teammates what needs to be done to win.
And can anyone be truly surprised that the one prominent former Phillie to spectacularly fail so far this offseason is Scott Rolen? The cranky third baseman, who famously departed the Phillies years before the Glory Days began (perhaps not coincidentally taking his losing energy with him), committed a key error for the Reds in Game Three of their series against the Giants, then struck out with the tying runs on base in the ninth of Game Five?
Yes, this October truly belongs to the Phillies.