While losing like they did in the playoffs is very disappointing, I'm still able to look at things objectively and positively.
I emotionally held a fire sale for the team the day Chase Utley broke his hand. Anything they did after that was clear profit as far as I was concerned. They just happened to go on a terrific run that coincided with one of the greatest September stretch-run bedcrappings in baseball history as performed by the New York Metropolitans. It was a great ride, and is and I suspect always will be one of my favorite memories associated with this team. If you can't look back positively at a season where something like this happens, I genuinely feel sorry for you.
This Phillies team was so deeply flawed that, even as they were celebrating on the field last weekend, some tiny part of me recognized that something either fraudulent or miraculous was happening... possibly both. This was the 1930 Phillies reborn, they weren't supposed to do this.
While history has shown, and last year amply demonstrated, that "anything can happen in October," that doesn't mean that things like that can, should, or will necessarily happen.
In the short series, everything that could possibly have gone wrong, went wrong. Their young ace didn't realize that wearing long sleeves in 88 degree weather might not be the best idea. The historically great offense went kaput. The tactically challenged manager showed his stuff yet again. The most frustrating part, for me at least, was that the team got decent to terrific pitching in two of the games it lost; if the team hit anywhere close to its abilities in those two games, we're probably looking at a Game Five in Philadelphia tomorrow.
I share David's concern as it applies to the future. A team with the elite core of talent that this team possesses should be a perrenial postseason force. But as their management has repeatedly shown, it's both unable to fill the remaining roster spots with ample talent to win, and incapable of extracting maximum performance/value from those players. And with a player like Ryan Howard, whose skill set and body type place him in the red flag injury/rapid decline category, and with Cole Hamels, a porcelain vase of a pitcher if there ever was one, this team has a relatively small window... 2008 and 2009, realistically. Is Mike Costanzo Troy Glaus or Russell Branyan? Will the young pitchers on the farm -- Carrasco, Happ, Mathieson, etc. -- mature in enough time to contribute? It's our best hope.