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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

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we need to start an organized howard for MVP campaign. this man deserves some trophy.

Actually I wouldn't mind a rainout later in the week. This would solve the problem of who pitches on Saturday's day/night doubleheader. Right now, I guess it will be Mathieson unless they are going to go with pitchers having 3 days rest. They don't have another scheduled off day till Sept 11th.

Howard may not be the most valuable player on the team let alone the league. Utley is a much better player.

Wow, I can't believe some suggested Utley for MVP rather than Howard. Utley is amazing and the best 2nd baseman in the NL and probably MLB, but Howard's season is tremendous...he's the MVP my friend!

It's time to draw even with the Reds by the end of this week. Playing catch up wears on the mind and the body. It would be nice for the players to see progress, instead of just hanging back.

They should be able to get in tonight's game, but Hurricane Ernesto should be in the Philly area just in time for the double-header Saturday.

I'm a big fan of Howard, but Pujols is the unquestioned NL MVP - just look at the rest of St. Louis' lineup. and it's not even like their pitching (Carpenter excepted) is particularly good this year. you take away Pujols and the Cards are struggling to stay in the WC race, let alone win their division.

Pujols was injured for part of this season, and Howard and Beltran passed him when he was out. He's a candidate, but there are a few names ahead of his. As I see it.

I agree with DQ. Utley might represent the heart and soul of the Phillies, but the Howitzer is the NL MVP, surely not the Muts Beltran. A case can be made for Pujols, as he's probably the best player in MLB in recent years, however he lost ground during his layoff and his power numbers slacked off after his return.

Utley is an amazing player but had a bit of a slump earlier this season and is going through another right now. Howard on the other hand has just been hitting home runs all season long tirelessly.

All of this is besides the point, of course. The Howard vs. Pujols for MVP debate will likely be decided by which team, the Phils or the Cards, if either, makes the playoffs.

IMHO, no Met should deserve to be called MVP simply because the rest of the team is so damn good in such a weak league.

honestly who cares who is the MVP...its much like the whole who's an allstar and who got snubbed crap thats bantered about around allstar time....THE bottom line that most people in this city should be worrying about is will the team play well enough (.600 ball) the rest of the way to get to 86 wins and win the wildcard. The whole MVP and All-Star talk only is brought up because of shows like Baseball Tonite/Sportscenter that spend large portions of their shows having talking heads debate this stuff.

My take on Pujols is that he's a great player but since he's returned from the DL in July the team has fallen off the face of the earth...by no means is he an MVP this year unless he does something to get that team the Pennant. THe MVP has to be Reyes or Beltran...most likely Beltran because he'll hit over 45 hrs but my personal choice would be Reyes...the guy is just plain and simple a terror at the plate, on the basepaths and in the field...he is everything we here in PHilly have been hoping Rollins could become for the last 5 years. As of right now, he is easily the best shortstop in the NL and it would be nice to see Jelly Roll take a footnote and learn that playing small ball is not always a bad thing.

Hell why not bring up Coste as MVP!!! He looked like a 33 yr old rookie yesterday with those 2 bonehead plays on bunts LOL!

Whatever.

Howard for MVP and Hank Aaron Award!

My vote for MVP goes to Pat "the Bat" Burrell he CAME in to see me in Booth 4 at Show n Tel last week and he's easily my MVP (most valuable Pe%i$)!

Have you seen Beltran's home batting numbers? If he's MVP, they might be among the worst home stats an award winner ever puts up. Earlier this year Wright was getting most of the Mets' MVP talk, but his ice-cold August squelched that. For what it's worth, whenever there's no clear-cut best player for the award the writers frequently choose the RBI champ, which would give Howard a leg up. For my money it's Pujols -- take two weeks of numbers away from any other player and he's behind Albert. I'm guessing he's been playing with some nagging remnants of his injury since he got back from the DL. Remember Mike Schmidt in '78 (I think it was -- those of you who are old enough correct me if I'm wrong)? He hurt his ribs early in the season, spent two weeks on the DL while Julio Franco got his first taste of the bigs, then came back and played the rest of the year with an aching side. He only hit something like 21 home runs, but his bat was needed in the lineup to protect everybody else. Pujols is a bit cooler since he came back, but he's still among the leaders in several categories, and his team is long gone without him. He gets my nod (as of this early date), Howard 2nd, though I agree with No Rule 6 -- Utley is the MVP of the team. When Utley hits they win; when he doesn't, they don't, though of course the same could be said of Rollins.

What will Myers do tonight in response to two straight poorly pitched games? Now the Mets offense is awesome...so giving up runs in that series is understandable.

Why not Miguel Cabrera for MVP? Florida is only a game back of the Phillies in the WC race, and his production is right on par with Pujols, maybe better.

Burrell batting sixth tonight. Smells like one of those lineups that won't score for Myers.

J. Rollins ss
S. Victorino cf
C. Utley 2b
R. Howard 1b
D. Dellucci rf
P. Burrell lf
M. Lieberthal c
A. Nunez 3b
B. Myers p

they better score some damn runs!

well i guess Soriano will have at least 2 hrs and 4 rbi's in this series. hopefully no one else gets off. I worry about Vidro and those pesky platooning RF's they got

Never mind about those runs...the damn ump will dick us out of those. His strike zone is horrible. I know I'm getting worked up...but I'd love to punch and ump in the face when they call games this crappy. I'm pissed!

F that ump...thank you Burrell!!!!

Nice to see Burrell coming through after Dellucci was screwed by the ump with that pitch which was at least a foot off the plate being called a strike!!

IW in first inning ? Frank Robinson intentionally walked Howard several times in recent home series as well. Burrell comes up clutch. Either Burrell or Dellucci needs to give Howard protection.

I know Abe plays better defense...but why the hell isn't Conine or Hernandez getting a start at 3rd instead. No-Hit Nunez is now 0-19...at least he's consistent. Consistently sucky!

Clout- by the way, Victorino is producing much better than Rowand on the season. In fact, when Vic starts he hits very well. The only reason his numbers are down are from the time he wasn't getting regular time played.

Miss me? Hah, don't answer that.

When does Manuel plan on getting Conine in there? Being that Dellucci is finally coming down to earth, it would seem a good time to give Howard all the protection he can get in that lineup. First-inning intentional walks shouldn't be happening. Not saying that Conine is a world-class threat, but Dellucci either needs to sit or bat lower in the order until he gets back on track.

We complain about poor Manuel management, but Frank Robinson has Soriano, a guy who has 83 RBIs with 42 dingers, hitting leadoff? Shouldnt he be a bit deeper in the order?

RSB: Are you familiar with Conine's work vs. RHP the past few years? Dellucci is who you want.
Paul: I'm not a fan of him leading off either, but you can make the case because of his 34 steals. The Nats are similar to the Phillies in that they'd don't have a legit leadoff hitter.

Howitzer fires again. With Big Papi having issues, the HR and RBI crowns are Ryan's for the taking.

We did miss you, RSB. As you can see, my comment counter has taken a hit this past week. What are your thoughts on the Conine trade?

How amazing is Ryan Howard? Ties Schmidt, but also sticks the Nationals with a six-run deficit.

Chase needs to break out of this slump down the stretch

Jason, Cabrera is indeed the big cog for the Fish, but he's not in Pujols' league for production, although once park adjustments are taken into account he's not doing badly. Though he is No. 1 in the NL in OBP, he trails Pujols, Howard and a couple of others by almost 100 points in slugging percentage. Of course, if they capture the consolation prize he'll place higher, but I'd put him no better than third at this early juncture. Reyes, for what it's worth, is only at .351 OBP, though of course his speed will win him votes regardless.

Howard continues to impress. What else can you say? I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up around 55-57 HRs this year. All this in his second full season! The sky is the limit for this guy. It truly is amazing how easy he makes it look with his awesome batting eye and pure brute strength. Amazing!

Yeah, Chase needs to start turning things around here. At least he does not take it to the field with him. If I remember right, one of the Phillies announcers said he was 0 for his last 20 ABs against Nationals pitching, and that was during his first or second at-bat. He is probably at 0 for his last 23 or 24 against Washington now. Ouch...

Congrats, Ryan Howard! I'm old enough to be Mike Schmidt's biggest fan, and I'm in awe of what Howard's done in just five months.

The one and only foul ball I ever caught was hit by Michael Jack the pitch before his 36th home run that season. I believe it was against the Pirates.

Utley is the man. He'll come around again. Even with the recent slump, he is still batting .314.

Soriano is now 0 for 8 with 8 K's in his career vs. Aaron Fultz. That is flat-out insane!

Marlins blew Mulder out of the water tonight. These are going to be big games coming up with the Fish. Their lineup is really clicking right now.

Nice of Fultz to hand Rhodes a save oppurtunity like that.

That 9th inning was a little more exciting than it needed to be, but at least we held on.

The Fish are definitely on their game right now, although Mulder is far from his usual self these days. They most likely will be over or right around .500 when we play them.

The Reds are down 3-0 to the Dodgers in the 2nd inning and the Padres are up on the D-Backs 2-0 in the 4th inning.

Sorry fellas, missed tonight's game due to Katrina church services. Gotta pray we never get another hurricane. Got home logged on to the gametrax internet deal and see Rhodes coming in with ducks on the pond and two already in. The screen refreshes and the Phillies win. Good deal.

The Fish scare me. The guy Josh Johnson that won last night is the real deal. The Phils have to keep winning.

In the MVP thing, if my memory is correct, I think that when Pujols went down, Howard was well behind in HRs and RBIs, but caught up or was only slightly ahead when Pujols returned to duty. Since then, Howard has put some distance between he and Pujols.

I'm sorry guys, but Carlos Beltran is going to win the MVP. Remember, baseball is more than an offensive game. And that's not to say that Beltran isn't having a better season than Ryan Howard offensively as well, because he has. Beltran leads Howard in offensive win shares by a large margin. In fact, Chase Utley has more win shares than Howard. Going even further, defensively, there is no comparison. Beltran is the highest rating defensive non-catcher in MLB this season!

Not to mention the fact that the Mets are running away with the division and the Phillies will likely not even make the playoffs!

Carlos Beltran is the 2006 MVP. No question about it. Beltran is on pace for over 90 extra base hits this season. For those not paying attention, Hack Wilson holds the all-time record for extra base hits in a season by a CF. Beltran could break that. You can have your homeruns, but I'll take Beltran ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!

Good point Stick, not enough consideration is given to defensive ability; HR, RBI, SLG, etc. are the stats that usually drive the voters to select the MVP.

OTOH, Beltran has the benefit of Delgado & Wright behind him; Burrell and Dellucci are not even in the same category. Even Pujols has more protection with Rolen to back him up. Lack of protection will probably hurt Howard's numbers for the remainder of the season - he's on a tear and no manager in his right mind will pitch to him in a close game.

Take Beltran ANY DAY OF THE WEEK? Consider that Howard has less than two full seasons under his belt. If he can cut down his strikeouts and learn to hit to the left side to take the shift off, his game will increase by several notches. If the Phils can protect him up with a line-drive-hitting 3rd baseman or corner outfielder, the man could become a legend.

No doubt, Beltran is a great player, but take him out of the lineup and the Mets are probably still running away with the division.

If the Phils and Cards both make the playoffs, I think it comes down to Pujols and Howard.

Kudos to Bailey from S&T actually linking to her profile. That takes some effort on the part of one really bored guy. Nice work bored guy!

Half game back in the WC standings. I was a little surprised to see the pen give back some of the lead.

Beltran is, sadly, the MVP, and I only say sadly because he plays for that team. Win shares and value over replacement players, along with New York media, will push that bandwagon.

Reds last remaining reliever enters the game in the bottom of the 16th and on the first pitch.....................Dodgers win on a Ramon Martinez home run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guess who the pitcher is?

TRADE OF THE YEAR.

Only one pitch thrown, he should be fresh for tonight's game!

As awesome as Howard's homeruns have been...we need him to keep doing it. We need him to homer the Phils into the playoffs. As mentioned by others, Utley is flat-out struggling. He'll turn it around, because he's a great player, but now it's all on Howard. Keep it up big man!

You are correct, Drama Queen. That's the only way I see the Phillies winning this thing - if Howard can keep up this pace. Rollins and Victorino need to keep doing what they're doing ahead of him. Dellucci has cooled also, and I don't expect much from Burrell.

if MVP still stands for Most Valuable Player, and I think it does, Howard is the out and out winner. If it stands for Best Player on the Best Team, Beltran is the winner hands down.

Take Howard out of this line-up and the Phils are in last place in the division, period. Take Beltran out of that line-up and the Mets are still leading the division.

Defense should be taken into account, in that if one of them was a liability, then you should count them less. Great defense has never been a significant deciding factor in a MVP vote (as long as both play defense). And Howard has been much better the last 3 months.

Will:
When there's no plyer having a head and shoulders above the rest season, the MVP voters inevitably default to the player having the best year on the team that had the best record. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the writers cast their MVP ballots before post-season games are done.

In the AL, I would vote Jeter. They're calling it his best overall season, offensively and defensively.

i was at this game -- all three and a half hours of it -- and was sitting in the VIP seats i get from time to time front row behind the plate. i had a pretty good view of the strike zone and in the early going, it was a joke. no corners, no belt, except for dellucci. hickox fixed his strikezone a bit, however, after myers and lieby spoke to him in consecutive innings. myers got a chance to talk to him at the plate during a nats mound conference and actually seemed to be reasoning with him. in the prior inning, myers was visably upset with the ump and gave him a death stare as soriano trotted the bases on his HR, on a pitch following that non-call on strike three.

my opinion of myers is that he will probably never be better than he is this season, without some sort of epiphany. for one thing, there is some anecdotal evidence, cited in "Fantasyland", that players involved in abuse charges see their careers plateau or decline, not ascend. but more important than that, he needed 110+ pitches again to get through 6 innings. he runs deep count after deep count because he simply can't hit his spots consistantly and his "stuff", which so many praise as "ace-worthy", is actually not quite good enough to miss bats consistantly (see hamels). hitters foul off so many pitches against him, thus reducing the number of innings in which he is fresh.

Don't really care that much about MVP but if the Marlins get into this thing, Cabrera has to get consideration. Talk about lineup protection. He has the worst and he's still putting up big numbers. I thought he'd struggle a little this year after the MArlins unloaded their entire starting lineup.

clout: you're right in that MVP votes are done before the post-season is over and only take into account the regular season.

I'd vote Jeter, because he is the best player on the Yanks AND because he basically carried them through the rough spot early in the season when the whole team got hurt (before they could buy replacement all-stars). When have the Mets had a rough spot for Beltran to carry them through and prove his value?

I realize they default to the best player on the best team, but it doesn't make it the correct decision, it just makes it the easiest one.

Seems odd discussing MVP candidates and the Phillies, but we are.

You can argue Beltran based on defense and success of the Mets. But please don't use Win Shares to defend Beltran. By this logic, Mike Cameron provides more value than Delgado, Rolen, and so forth.

in re: MVP awards and defense...right now, obviously defense plays virtually no role in awarding MVP trophies (except when voters want to show off their crotchety-old-man distaste for the DH). however, it wasn't so in the past.

Zoilo Versalles (not too long ago, in 1965) would probably come to mind for many baseball fans - an MVP who did not rank among the league leaders in average, OBP, or slugging. but shortstop Versalles did lead the AL in doubles, triples, total bases, and runs, and was fifth in runs created. you could argue, without trying too hard, that he was the keystone of the Twins' offense, even if he wasn't their most potent weapon (similar to Rollins or Reyes today). and he was, by all reports, a fine defensive shortstop, winning the Gold Glove that year.

you have to go back over 60 years for the quintessential MVP-for-defense award: not Versalles, but Marty "the Octopus" Marion, weak-hitting shortstop for the 1940s Cardinals. take a look at his MVP-winning stats:

.267/.324/.362
50 runs
63 RBI
34 XBH
1 SB
4.02 RC/27
91 park-adjusted OPS+

Marion won the MVP by a single point over Chicago OF Bill Nicholson, who led the league in HR, RBI and runs. Marion did receive nearly double Nicholson's first place votes, 7 to 4. the Cards won 105 games and took the pennant by 14.5 games, while the Cubs finished 75-79 in fourth place.

How many guys have won ROY one year and MVP the next? Anyone have that stat?

I think that both the Howard and Beltran MVP bandwagons are at least partially propelled by people being bored by Pujols being so consistently, ridiculously good. And by Pujols being sort of boring, period. However, the Cardinals line-up is not good, and neither is their pitching, but they're in first place. Perhaps this is because Pujols is hitting FOUR FREAKING HUNDRED with RISP. Even if he was out for a couple of weeks, I don't think anyone can really make the case for anyone in the NL exceeding him in value.

That said, Phils make the wild card AND Howard hits 60+ home runs, maybe there's a case to be made for him. And if he comes in 2nd or 3rd in the voting his sophomore year, I mean - that's not too bad, right?

Cal Ripken, Jr. - 1982 ROY and 1983 MVP.

Three guys have nearly made the ROY to MVP jump. Tony Oliva finished second in MVP voting in '65 after winning the ROY in '64. Nomar Garciaparra did the same in '97 and '98, as did Pujols in '01 and '02 (following it up with another MVP runner-up season in '03.

There have been several ROYs who won the MVP in their junior years: Jackie Robinson won the inaugural ROY in '47 and the MVP in '49. Willie Mays in '51 and '54, Johnny Bench in '68 and '70, and Jose Canseco in '86 and '88.

For pitchers, Tom Seaver followed up his '67 ROY season with a Cy Young (and a second place finish in the MVP voting) in '69. Doc Gooden also followed up his '84 ROY season with a Cy Young in '85.

Fred Lynn ('75) and Ichiro ('01), of course, both won the MVP and ROY the same year. Fernando Valenzuela won both the Cy Young and the ROY in '81.

Great summary of Myers by gr.

The question is whether Brett will, 1) avoid jail, and 2) will develop the type of command that Schilling did, which allowed Curt to knock down his pitch counts and issue very few walks. Remember The Ego (Schilling) used to have (seemingly) five fouls per at-bat.

i seen alot of spanish people from down DR way.. never seen one as big as pujols....oh sorry i forgot sammy sosa.

Busy day ... post to come this evening.

Damn good thread today. Very intelligent posts. Nice when the dopes (and Mets fans) aren't posting. My opinion is that the MVP is rarely the best player in the league. Most often he's the best player on the best team. The Cards are collapsing and probably won't make post-season, which means Pujols won't win MVP. But if all the owners got together for a draft of all NL players is there any doubt that he'd be the first pick?

Well, listen...Mark McGwire never won an MVP in 1998 or 1999, and look what he did for baseball at that time. Granted, our perception of him has changed, and his teams were not exactly in contention, but I think that's telling you that most likely the MVP will go to the best player on the best team (i.e. Chipper Jones in 1999).

how great is it that this season still means something?

Super-great?

The MVP debate is meaningless at this point in the season. Fun? Yes, but meaningless nevertheless.

With almost 20% of the season remaining the MVP will most likely be determined by how well the contending players and their teams do in the remaining 30 or so games.

With that in mind, let's hope The Howitzer (or is it The Reaper?) continues to get enough pitches to hit and the Phils continue to stay hot!

My only beef with Pujols as MVP is that when he got hurt earlier in the season, the cards didn't falter that much. Now he's in the line-up and they're worse. Obviously there's other things involved and may be a fluke, but it just strikes me as odd.

My only beef with Pujols is that he isn't Ryan Howard. And i agree with the voice of reason in that its too early to be discussing MVP, however with all the discussions, interviews, polls, Coors Light Debates, Budweiser HotSeats talk of MVP, the topic is forced upon us. And possibly too, the actual voters. Media hype is so overblown sometimes its sad. Has anyone ever seen so much extensive coverage of a common Floridian tropical storm like we're seeing w/ Ernesto?

Paul all the hurricanes are hyped to scare people into evacuating. Unfortunately, most storms turn out like Ernesto as false alarms. Too many consecutive false alarms and people stop leaving. I have evacuated New Orleans four times for Andrew, Geoges, Ivan and Katrina. The first three storms went elsewhere, making them false alarms for New Orleans. That is the major reason many died and did not evacuate New Orleans...too many false alarms.

Let's hope all this WC hype for the Phils isn't a false alarm. I also love Ryan Franklin as a reliever for the Reds! Pitch him every day!

Check the records, Clout, and you'll see "the best player on the best team" isn't nearly the cinch you seem to think. RBI leader, on the other hand, matches up better. And those citing the early date are dead on. As for Beltran-for-MVP, shouldn't the MVP be the guy who carries his team? I didn't notice Beltran doing that until the team was already 10+ games ahead. If he cools off this final month, so much the worse for him. Add to that his lousy hitting at Shea and I think you'll have less of a New York media bandwagon effect than usual. I would still make Pujols the favorite.

Queen: Here's a quickie quiz for you: If the Phillies aren't eliminated from contention this season until 3 games to go, which season -- this one or last one -- would've been more meaningful in terms of staying in the race?

Thanks, Jason...a day later. Still don't have my own computer up and running after the move, I'm over at the library.

The Conine trade is tremendous, and incredibly appropo considering this was a guy that Ed Wade stood around and watched a rival get for the stretch drive, while Gillick went ahead and got him for the Phils. It was easy to wonder if this guy was still "Stand Pat" earlier in the season when he went over two months without a single transaction following the Dellucci trade, but he's certainly been impressive in the second half. Also amazing that Franklin is aiding the Phils simply by being on a rival's roster, serving up compensatory meatballs for the Reds.

How amazing is Howard? The best thing to happen to Phillies baseball since...well, hammer me all you want, but since Scott Rolen...and since that didn't end up working out, how about since Schmidt himself.

If the Phils were to make it into the playoffs, it would be triply sweet because it would mean they will have gone through the Marlins and the Astros, nemeses of Septembers past, to do so.

I almost, *almost* am tempted to say, it's gonna happen. But I can't. I am excited, and I can't deny myself that. But I can't call myself a Phillies fan and set myself up for that kind of disappointment - the disappointment which has been the rule and not the exception over 22 seasons of watching them - at the same time.

I would think that an argument can be made that coming up short with 3 games to go this year, as opposed to it coming down to the last game last year, is just as impressive, if not more so. At the trade deadline when Gillick said the Phils were "buyers and sellers" everyone laughed it off and was calling for his head in typical (albeit lovable) Philly fashion. I was among those claiming that it looked like he was out to sabotage the team on his way out the door after his first and only season. When they say hindsight is 20/20, they're not kidding. There is obviously a reason that Pat Gillick has made a name for himself as a very steady GM. I'm not saying we should deify him or anything, but he has shown that he knows what he's doing.

In all honesty, if/when this season even gets to the point where the final 3 games are meaningful, as tough as it may be for even myself to say, I think that Pat Gillick deserves some MVP consideration. This team is truly doing more with less and actually appears like a "team" more than a group of very talented underachievers.

Clout- to answer your question...this season would mean more because after the trade of Abreu and others the fanbase was beginning to waiver...this race has brought them back.

The MVP debate is meaningless at this point in the season. Fun? Yes, but meaningless nevertheless.

Yup. Now, in the last week of the season, the debate of beerleaguer commenters really will have a large impact on who gets the MVP, but for now it's meaningless.

The answer is this season because it is happening right now. We still have a chance, right now.

Last season is history. We didn't make it. Last season is like last Friday's sports section of the paper. It's already been read, thrown out, and picked up by the garbage men. It's history. It's gone!

Or even... last season's sports section...

Queen: You didn't read this part of my question: "in terms of staying in the race."

Fred: So whatever happens this season is better than what happened last season. Interesting.

Clout, Only because it is "now". I can enjoy this WC race right now and tomorrow. I can tolerate a small losing streak and still enjoy this WC season. I can't enjoy last season because it is over and we didn't make it.

If I pretend that I'm looking at this season and last season from some future perspective, say 2009, I believe I would still pick this season. Here's my reason's:

1. Chase Utley. He's more exciting this year than last year.

2. Ryan Howard. Same reason as Utley.

3. Starting Rotation. Our patchwork starters, 1 through 5, are better than last year's group at this time. Right now, I feel the Phils have a chance to win going into every game. I couldn't say that last month, but right now, we have competant starters.

4. Chris Coste - he's exciting. He wasn't here last year.

Negatives from 2006 vs. 2005

1. Wagner is a better closer than who we have now.

2. Abreu is gone. He is a great player.

3. Bell is gone. That could be a plus or minus, depending on your inclination.

4. Thome is gone. He, too, is a great player, but Ryan Howard has more than filled his slugging shoes.

These are my opinions.

Well, I suppose some people liked the 1994 season better than the 1993 season. I always judge according to the won/loss record and whether a team gets into post-season. Based on that criteria, this year could be better or could be worse. My orginal point was that Queen's implication that it's been forever since the Phils were in a wild card race was kind of silly. We were in one last year that went to the final day. Facts are facts and fantasy is fantasy.

Won-Loss records are good during the season. I remember '76 and '77 when they won 101 games each year only to lose in the playoffs for three straight years. We'll always remember 1980, but they won only 91 games that year after winning 84 the year before. '83 was a fluke with a hot September and '93 was a semi-fluke with a blazing start and a good post season.

This year's team had a horrible midseason, but they seem to be competitive now. I'm enjoying it. Last years team never seemed destined for this, dropping those series to the Marlins and the Astros. Last year the Phillies played the role that Cincy is playing this year.

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