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Looking back, looking ahead

2022 turned out to be fun, but what will 2023 bring for the Phillies?

World Series - Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Five
Brad Lidge was involved in one of the greatest moments in Phillies history
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

With today’s post, I have completed my goal of posting something on every day of December! (Brief pause for applause) I hope you’ve enjoyed these Happy Smarty-days as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Or actually more so, because I won’t lie to you: Some days it was a real chore to find something to write.

Now that it’s all but over, I’ll do the whole requisite looking back at the year thing, or at least as far as the Phillies go. 2022 didn’t always look like it was going to be a good year for the Phillies. The early part of the year sucked because there was a lockout, and it looked like we might have to wait a couple extra years to see any baseball.

The season started off promisingly...for all of two games before their offense got shut down by the A’s (the A’s!) in the third game. And then the Phillies slogged through two months of baseball which ended with them eight games under .500 and 12.5 games out of first place. It wasn’t long after that the manager was fired.

Things picked up almost immediately. I attended the first post-Girardi game and it was a fun one, with the Phils beating the Angels 10-0. Things got much better after that point, although I can’t say it was all smooth sailing. There were definitely times when it looked like the team was going to once again fall short of the playoffs.

But they did make the playoffs! And after the first eight innings of the playoffs tried our patience, inning nine proved to be well worth the wait.

The fun continued for the next few weeks, and if you recall, they ended up making it all the way to the World Series, which is a pretty big accomplishment for a baseball team. The whole winning the NLCS thing was huge, especially since I was in attendance for this:

I’d rank that as one of the five greatest moments in team history. The others are probably:

  • Tug McGraw strikes out Willie Wilson - It’s tough to top the clinching out of the team’s first championship.
  • Brad Lidge strikes out Eric Hinske - Maybe not QUITE as important as the first World Series, but this ended a 25-year span without a sports championship in Philadelphia.
  • Mike Schmidt hits his 500th home run - 500 home runs might not seem as big a deal today, but in the 80’s it was a huge deal, and the home run happened to be dramatic as well.
  • Mitch Williams strikes out Bill Pecota - Much like this year, the 1993 World Series didn’t go so well for the Phillies, but in a way, not winning it all was appropriate for that team.

Will 2023 prove to be just as good for the Phillies? It’s tough to say. Winning the World Series is a tough standard, and even getting back there will prove tough. Even with some offseason additions, the Phillies still might only be the third best team in the division on paper.

But thanks to the magic of Wild Card spots, I feel confident in a return to the playoffs in 2023. They definitely appear to be one of the six best teams in the National League, and hopefully a full season of Rob Thomson at the helm will help them avoid some of the early season unpleasantness of last season.

So, here’s to a 2023 full of more great Phillies victories and more postseason memories that we can cherish forever! Happy New Year!