In my "Sunshine and Roses" tour in this time of the dying sun, I've:
- Asked how many games the 2015 Phillies will lose
- Will the 2015 Phillies have the worst outfield in their history, and
- Discussed how many 100 loss seasons the Phillies have had in their history
It is interesting for me to write about these things, but I really don't care if they do lose 100 games. I'm not angry anymore. I'm resigned. I've reached "acceptance." Some people are obviously really angry about the team getting old and being bad. Mistakes were made, but what are we supposed to do? Keep dwelling on them and getting angrier? Just don't make them again.
The Phillies losing 100 games won't make me hate baseball. It won't make me stop going to games with my family. It won't really affect my life at all. I've tried quitting, but it doesn't work.
I'm a lifer, and honestly, I've seen more good than bad from the Phillies organization in the last 2 years. If you look at that quitting link, though, my position really hasn't changed. Discount the tickets some and lure me into the bar/restaurant of CBP. I'll go to games. Just don't try to pretend that anyone is willing to pay full price right now. Now *that* is irritating.
What I care about now overall is not 2015. I want the team to get better. The MLB team will undeniably be worse in 2015 than it was in 2014. Replacing Jimmy Rollins with Freddy Galvis and other things pretty much assures that. As other trade pieces fall into place, there will likewise be a certain inevitability to the math at the other positions and for the team as a whole. Math doesn't make me mad.
I don't like the idea of going to a game and having only a 40% chance to see the Phillies win, but that is not markedly different than having a 60% chance. I don't judge the fun of games by whether the team wins or loses. Ok, maybe a little, but I don't make "Do I go to a game?" decisions based on whether they are winning or losing.
Sure, losing sucks, especially if it is gut-wrenching, awful losing. Or endless losing. But when you know the team will lose 100 games or something close enough that it really is just chance that if they do or don't, there's not too much pressure for individual games, and the trend line is what matters.
What I want to see is a clear path out of the dumb. I see Ryan Howard's contract as the plant at the edge of the cliff, with someone hanging from it. The roots are pulling out of the cliff, bit by bit. He'll fall. It is just a matter of time. The same is true of Papelbon and Lee.
The money will work itself out.
At least the team is not trying to hang on for one last hurrah.
A couple of years ago, they stopped trading young talent for "missing pieces" and "right-handed bats" allowing things like Aaron Nola, J.P. Crawford, and Roman Quinn to exist. These could be fun, young players to get to know and enjoy. Maybe a few of them will be productive. Most prospects won't. The difference with the Phillies now is that they are stockpiling these mostly loser lottery tickets. They are also buying tickets with better odds now that they are picking higher in the draft again.
At the MLB level, Ken Giles still throws 100 mph. Jake Diekman does, too, sometimes. Cody Asche and Maikel Franco appear ready to duke it out for the job at third. I sense that both will be better for it.
Quinn is ***fast***. Crawford will have the unenviable role of Charlie Hayes to Rollins' Mike Schmidt, but he's likely leagues better than Freddy Galvis. Who knows? That's part of the fun of it.
I do know that when the Phillies find the right mix, they will have the resources to keep the team together, instead of blowing it up, like the Braves have to do. Hopefully, the next run (and there will be one) will not involve a "Hunter Pence trade."
What would 100 losses mean in that context? That the Phillies were willing to trade the old cow so they could buy seed corn? The losses will be part of what Wet Luzinski described recently as the Phoenix-ashes-Phoenix continuum. I'd like the Phillies to have a window that never closes, and I think they are one of the few MLB organizations that could potentially operate like that. Even if their window does close from time to time, it won't stay closed forever, or for long. Except, you know, this time.
They are assured of a top 3 pick in the draft following the 2015 season. Name more than two teams that could finish with a worse record. They will get a good pick this year. The TV money spigot opens in 2016 and dead contracts fall off the edge of the cliff I described above. While buying talent is harder than it used to be, the Phillies would likely not have to trade a Jason Heyward or a Justin Upton. Money will let them hold on to talent if they want to.
I could sit in the corner all year and cut myself while drinking poison. I could be angry for years over the Hunter Pence trade. I could bitch about the Howard extension. Is that particularly productive? No. Do I own a time machine? No. Do I see the Phillies continuing to dig their hole even deeper? No.
The Phillies have played a lot of baseball - 132 years, so far. They'll play baseball after I'm dead, years from now. Since 1961, they have had ups and downs, but they have never been even close to as atrocious as they were in the 1930's and 40's. Only three teams have gone longer without losing 100 games in a year. Many teams have not won 2 World Series in my lifetime. Many teams are financially buried in small markets with no hope of ever being an elite money team.
Will I hate baseball because the Phoenix has turned to ashes? Nope. It's going to rise again. And part of its beauty is the process that the Phillies are going through right now.