The Phillies celebrated back-to-back National League East titles after clinching the division on the second last day of the season, but unlike 2007, their sights are already set on the next order of business.
I’ve been looking forward to today’s game all season. I revel in its meaninglessness, its absence of consequence. I’m legitimately excited to see today's bench-emptying lineup card. This is one game where the only thing I honestly care about is that the team plays hard and has fun, just like they used to say in little league.
The good people at Comcast SportsNet covered virtually every second of yesterday’s postgame revelry, and about an hour into the show, I came to the conclusion that I was happier about the Phils clearing my Sunday schedule than a successful defense of the National League East. That’s not to undervalue the intense grind that started in mid-February, but the way I see it, you finish with 91 wins, a 3.90 team ERA, a perfect closer, a 45-year-old 16-game winner, a home run and RBI champ, you better be in. Watching the celebration, the view from my oversize loveseat painted a subdued portrait of a division winner. The “team of necessity” celebrated out of necessity, too. Listen to Charlie Manuel and he’ll tell you the main reason his club was swept in the '07 NLDS was they got too caught up in the euphoria of finally making it and anything that happened in October was practically viewed as a bonus. That won't be the case here.
To the game, the only thing missing was that it happened in game 161 instead of 162. The final play was given a proper storybook treatment by Phil Sheridan of the Inquirer, who correctly identified it as one of the all-time great defensive plays in Phillies history. He also recognized the play Carlos Ruiz made on the bounce over his head. Aside from the 9th-inning defense, Jamie Moyer rises to the occasion yet again in a big game. Moyer has become a Philadelphia treasure that needs to be kept under lock and key.
Game chat: Discuss today's game if you'd like, but to post a separate entry would be to cheapen the purity of the situation. Have a good Sunday everyone.