Ryne Sandberg shed a little inadvertent light on the 2014 Phillies during one of the winter banquets the team holds during the offseason; as it turns out, aging veterans, loose pieces, and unmet expectations don't make for a thriving baseball environment.
"I didn't think we had a good clubhouse last year... I don't think it was conducive to winning. I don't think it was about winning a baseball game that day, in some regards. I think there were some distractions there. So [we have to] be on top of that, have a better atmosphere."
--Ryne Sandberg, via Ryan Lawrence
Oh, he tried to backpedal out of his statement that made it sound like the Phillies organization was anything other than 25 pals who look good in red. But, as Sandberg was learning the ins and outs of speaking publicly, he was also learning how to cover his tracks, and wound up sounding like sort of a crazy person.
"Ryne Sandberg spent about 10 minutes trying to explain himself, but before he'd go too far and say something he might regret, he inserted awkward laugher into the conversation."
Look, it reached a point last season when it was very easy to fall apart over the Phillies. We were all grumbling and snapping at each other. We convinced ourselves it wall DeSean Jackson's fault somehow. If hadn't been for the Taney Dragons, the city's infrastructure probably would have collapsed. Doesn't anyone remember Mayor Michael Nutter's weary public address with his eyes bloodshot and his wrinkled shirt untucked?
"What do you want me to say to you people; the whole thing's f*****."
--Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter last summer
It's an understandable development for a team that knows it's not going to the playoffs by early June, and a development that we were not seeing for the first time for this group. But those days are over, according to Cole Hamels on Friday.
"He said he wasn't surprised to be back and he set a much more optimistic tone than many would have expected when he met the media before the Phillies' annual On-Deck Series with the visiting Pirates.
Hamels talked about a friendlier, more unified clubhouse and a team that will strive to play the game the right way."
Well, that's just paraphrasing, so Hamels could talked about a "friendlier, more unified clubhouse" as something the Phillies will not have this season, and then tied it off with a go-to cliché.