The Phillies didn't get one fake game into their 2015 season before the national press started making their snide little jokes.
"Phillies lose to a college team."
"Phils get beat by a Division 2 squad."
"Phillies destroy the world in just three hours."
Yes, the Phils lost their exhibition "opener" by a score of 6-2 to the University of Tampa, the No. 1 team in Division 2 college baseball.
OK, I'll admit, this looks bad. The Phillies did in fact lose to a Division 2 baseball team on Saturday. In fact, according to Tampa's website, the Phils are the first Major League team to lose to an NCAA team since the Marlins were beaten by the University of Miami in 2011.
Of course, that would be the Division ONE Miami Hurricanes. But I digress.
Look, most of us know the Phillies are going to have a hard time beating most PROFESSIONAL baseball teams this season, but a Division 2 team?
To be fair, if you look at the names of the players that actually suited up for the Phils this weekend, the loss makes a little more sense. Only Darin Ruf, Odubel Herrera, and Cesar Hernandez are players who are likely to actually play games for the Philadelphia Phillies this year. The rest are most likely ticketed for a minor league club or will be given their outright release at some point.
After the game, manager Ryne Sandberg was asked if he was embarrassed by the loss.
"Well, you know," Sandberg said, "it kind of shows where we're at as far as seeing players and workouts and seeing the work that needs to be done. I think it just emphasizes that."
I know the Phils are just starting their spring season and most of the players who played yesterday have only been in camp for a few days. And yes, Tampa is in the middle of their college season, they are the top-ranked Division 2 team, and have already played 14 games this season.
And any team that is led by the nephew of general manager Ruben Amaro is going to give the opposition fits. In fact, it was Andrew Amaro, Tampa's first baseman, who worked a bases-loaded, two-out, nine-pitch walk against Nefi Ogando to score the tying run.
At the end of the day, my only explanation for a loss like this is simple. They did it to make the kids feel good. Because even if it is the beginning of spring training, and even if the lineup and pitchers lined up to pitch were on the bottom end of the Phils' 40-man roster, they are still ON THE ROSTER.
So that has to be it. The Phillies were simply being nice.
I think that's a much better way to start the 2015 season, don't you?