How are you doing? I mean, beyond the meaningless platitudes we utter on a daily basis when people say "wassup?" or "how's it going?" Let's get to real emotions - when it gets down to it, how are you really feeling?
There's no doubt about it. Your team is struggling. It's lost 50 games at the halfway mark, only 10 fewer than the team lost all of last year. Eleven NL teams have better records than your team. Your best hitter came off the DL a week and a half ago, and the team responded by losing 10 of its next 11 games. Your offense was horrible in April but improved . . . only to see the pitching drop off a cliff, particularly the bullpen. Between your top two veteran aces, you have 1 win and 1 long DL stint.
We all know it's not pretty, but how does this first half really make you feel? Below are some options that I think I've found an abundance of here in Philadelphia and on the interwebs. Feel free to elaborate or chime in with your own in the comments. And vote in the poll too!
Smug know-it-all-ness: You saw this train wreck coming from a mile away. Before the season, you told everyone you knew that this team was going to be horrible -- too old, too expensive, too mediocre, too ungritty, too whatever. It didn't matter, you knew it. You had to withstand constant taunting as a joyless malcontent who didn't appreciate what this team has done over the past five years, especially given the franchise's historical awfulness. But now you've shown everyone just how awesome your baseball analytical skills are. Your team may be struggling, but your intellect is beyond reproach, and isn't that what really matters. After all, maybe those geniuses from WIP or Baseball Tonight will come calling.
Soul-crushing despair: Your team is a winning team. It just is. After all, that's all you've ever known. Your team has aces and stars at most positions. Your team's manager is kind of mumbly, but he knows how to win because his team, the only team he's ever managed as far as you know, always wins. Now something different is happening and it hurts. I mean, it really hurts. Each night just tears at your heart. You go to school the next day with nothing really interesting to say to your friends. When it comes down to it, when another Rosenwho or Sancheswhat blows a game in a completely heartbreaking way, what is there really to say? It's over.
Half-blind optimism: Sure the team has had its worst first half since the dark days of 1997, but you swear by the collective wisdom of some econ nerd who lives in his uncle's basement, a constitutional law professor whose expertise is gender construction, and some blogger who wants to befriend your Mexican corn-tortilla meat concoction. They told you this team is better than it is, so it must be. Each day is a new day, and bad luck has to end some time. Why not with the games right after the break? After all, we all know Charlie Manuel is a second half manager, the team just has to be better with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Roy Halladay playing, and xFIP and BABIP abnormalities should stabilize and regress. They have to. They just have to . . . right?
Naive joy: This is baseball. Each day a game is played is a day to celebrate life. Grass, sun, chalk, sweat, gloves, bats, balls - it's all good. Sure, winning games is better than losing games, but have you been to CBP? Have you seen what Chooch is doing this year? Have you sat with your kid and just watched grown men play this beloved game? Have you appreciated how perfect the baseball diamond is? How most guys are thrown out within inches of first base? I mean, if you don't appreciate the complexity and beauty in that, then you're missing out on some intense pleasure in life. This is baseball we're talking about folks. By definition it's fun.
True Negadelphian anger: You were promised three aces. You were told Ryan Howard would be ready in May and Chase Utley in early April. You were told Hunter Pence was gritty and that the team had ripped off Ed Wade again. You pay a lot to go to CBP and drink yourself silly. Ruben Amaro doesn't know what he's doing. Charlie Manuel's true idiocy is shining through. This franchise is just a bunch of morons trying to cover for their years of cheapness by overpaying for crap. Everyone should be traded between now and July 31 because this team sucks, management is incompetent, and we are going to go yet another year without winning a championship. NOT ACCEPTABLE!
Ironic agitated detachment: Watching games is frustrating, so you've stopped. Well, not completely. You can't help but take a sneak peak at a game here and there, but it always seems that you catch another Brian McCann home run, Antonio Bastardo walk, or Kyle Kendrick . . . well, just Kyle Kendrick. The only way you know to deal with the anger is by doing what hipsters do best - wear a t-shirt. You got yourself a t-shirt that looks like other Phillies shirts -- red shirt, simple white block lettering -- except where others' shirts say "Champs," yours says "Basement." When people ask you about it, you pretend not to care and proceed to put your earbuds back in so you can walk away listening to "All My Friends" for the fourth time today in anticipation of "Shut Up and Play the Hits," your only real hope this summer for taking your mind off this terrible team. After all, the House of Good is just too far for you to drive your Zip Car.
Tireless problem-solver: The team is done for this year, but now there's a puzzle at hand - what to do for next year and beyond. Others think the window might be closing, but you see this instead as an opportunity to improve. Trade Cole only to re-sign him in the off-season? Brilliant, but not that original. Your solution? Trade Victorino and Pence, move Utley to rightfield to save his knees, move Chooch to second to save his entire body (Biggio did it after all!), petition MLB to put the Phillies in the AL instead of the Astros, move Howard to DH, convince Roy Oswalt to come back in the off-season, bring Jamie Moyer out of retirement, trade Dom Brown for Craig Kimbrel to pitch the 8th, get Charlie to take a backseat as a motivational manager and bring Ryne Sandberg up to manage in-game situations, and get David Wright to play third base. And sign Josh Hamilton. Now that's original AND brilliant. And it guarantees 110 wins next year.
Excited by the challenge: Rubik's cube was fun for you . . . the first time. After that, in order to make it something worth your time, you needed to be blindfolded. Last year was great, but winning 102 games and running away with the NL East got kind of boring. The Phillies had sucked the life out of baseball with their methodical winning. This year is different. This year is a challenge. What better way to enjoy the season than handicap yourself by losing almost 60% of your first 87 games? By not having two of your best hitters? And missing the best pitcher on the planet while putting a bunch of AA-wannabes in the bullpen? Now we've got a challenge on our hands, and you're excited to watch some real entertainment as this team fights, claws, and scratches its way to the finish from the basement, rather than once again coasting through the summer like a Romney donor yachting to the Hamptons.
Does one of these capture it for you? If so, vote below and tell us more in the comments. If not, we're here to listen to what you really are feeling. Given what we fans are going through right now, it's the least we can do for you.
How are you feeling?
Smug know-it-all-ness (28 votes)
Soul-crushing despair (16 votes)
Half-blind optimism (52 votes)
Naive joy (19 votes)
True Negadelphian anger (13 votes)
Ironic agitated detachment (61 votes)
Tireless problem solver (38 votes)
Excited by the challenge (14 votes)
Something else (describe in comments) (19 votes)
260 total votes