So, here we are. We are facing down the 2012 Phillies, and right now it isn't a pretty sight. But while things are bad, they could most definitely get worse. (And anytime someone says that "it can't get any worse" unironically, something bad happens, so watch yourselves, because I will not tolerate it!) You may be asking yourself, how do I feel? How *should* I feel? Luckily, I'm here to help. If you're confused about how exactly you should feel, here's a list of acceptable emotional responses.
Unadulterated Panic: This is the end. Something has to be done. They are below .500 and everyone sucks. It's time to trade Cole Hamels. Trade Shane Victorino. Trade Chase Utley! Nothing and no one is safe. This team is supposed to win, and the ownership must MAKE them win, even if it means blowing up the entire roster and spending every single dime they have or will ever have. You will make your opinions heard, telling them to friends and strangers, calling into every radio show that will put your crackpot theories on the air. If you say them loudly and all the time, maybe someone in the Phillies front office will hear you.
Hopeless Depression: There is no morning and no night. Everything is just a sad, grey, pit of despair from which nothing can emerge. The Phillies are bad, and they will never be good again. "The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood. For nothing now can ever come to any good." Well said, British poet dude. And that guy wasn't even talking about baseball!
Self Righteous Smugness: You predicted this. If the Phillies front office had listened to you, they wouldn't be in this mess. But they didn't listen to you, and so here they are, in a mess of their own making. You take enormous satisfaction and a sick, twisted pleasure from watching what you predict will be the Phillies long term downfall, and you will make sure that everyone knows that you saw this coming.
Resignation: It is what it is. What can you do about it? It was only a matter of time, anyway. You watch the games from start to finish, taking in each and every error, strikeout, popup, and pitching implosion. You watch young Freddy Galvis with muted awe, wondering how he found his way onto this team of frustration and zzzzz, and how long it will be until it starts to affect him as it has you. One day, Young Freddy will emerge from the dugout looking not like an exuberant, fresh faced future franchise star, but like the Cryptkeeper. You don't exactly expect the worst, but when it happens, you sigh and nod. Well, of course.
Deja Vu: This...seems familiar. You remember a time somewhat like this from the past. Maybe 10 years ago...or almost 20...or was it 30? The last several years of joy and excitement have dimmed those memories a bit, but through the cobwebs of your mind you can sort of remember feeling like this before. Everything about this feels like reminder of a past that you know you lived through, but can no longer place.
Joy: This is the team you remember. From your childhood, from your adolescence, from your adulthood. The shitty lineups, the player frustration, the fan anger. The Phillies of the past five years have been confusing to you, what with all the winning and success. You didn't quite feel comfortable rooting for a team that did so many things well. You saw glimpses of it recently. Trading away their farm system. Yanking around Dom Brown. But with Howard and Utley injured, and when Nix, Wigginton, and Pierre came on board in the offseason, you had a feeling that this could be a team you could really get behind.
These, however, are not acceptable emotional responses to the 2012 Phillies.
Realism: All those people with their feet firmly planted on the ground might as well have their heads stuck in the sand. They all *say* that the Phillies have only played 17 games. They *say* that isn't a lot. A football season is just 16 games! If the 2012 Phillies were a football team, they'd be worse than the 2011 Eagles!
Restrained Optimism: Have these people been paying attention? Utley and Howard may only be in their early 30s, but they obviously have no talent or ability left whatsoever. The only thing they will contribute upon their return is more gray hair clogging up the locker room shower drains. They are old. The rest of the lineup is old. Charlie Manuel is old. You can take your fancy metrics and statistics and stick them where the sun don't shine, because I use my peepers to judge the things I see in front of my face, and what I see is a team that is bad. How can anyone be optimistic about a team that is bad?
Nonchalance: Wait a minute, you DON'T CARE that the team is bad? That they are worse than any baseball team has ever or will ever be again in the history of recorded time? Why aren't you proposing outlandish trades? Why aren't you weeping uncontrollably in the fetal position? Why aren't you shouting "I told you so!" to anyone within earshot? How can you continue with your daily life when your favorite team SUCKS?! Wait a minute, you think baseball should be FUN!? GET OUT. NOW.
I hope this guide has been helpful. I trust everyone will adjust their emotional responses accordingly.