Monday, July 1, 2013

2013 Phillies Survival Guide

2013 Topps Phillies #PHI-17
I'm not going to lie to you here, folks.  It's not looking good for the Fightin' Phils right about now and before it's all over, it could get a lot worse.  The 2013 version of the Phillies has tried our patience, given us indigestion and perhaps made us cuss at our television sets.  I'm here to tell you that you're not alone in your frustration and that you don't need to suffer alone.  We'll get through this and we'll be better fans because of it.  Heck, if we can get through most of the seasons of the 1990s and early 2000s, we can get through just about anything.

As a public service, I've put together 7 handy tips to get us through the rest of this season.  Presented below, in no particular order, are my suggestions to any Phillies fan looking to make the best of what has been a truly lost season.

1.  Enjoy Scott and L.A.
2013 Phillies Team Issue -
Franzke and L.A. are in the back middle

I'm not going to use this space to bash the team's current televsion broadcasters, but I'm not alone in my opinion that they're not very good.  My wife and I automatically mute the TV at gametime and tune in to the radio broadcast so that we can enjoy the game with Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen.  They have an excellent rapport with each other and they can turn the most miserable of games into an enjoyable experience.  Without sounding sacrilegious, the best comparison to this duo is Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn, and I know I'm not alone in that assessment either.

2.  Be nostalgic.
Most of us own or have access to highlights or complete broadcasts of the 2008 World Series games.  There's nothing wrong with re-watching any of these games in lieu of watching Delmon Young or Ryan Howard hack haphazardly at the plate.  From late 2007 through roughly Game 3 of the 2011 N.L.D.S., the Phillies were one of the best, if not the best, teams in baseball.  Those are now the "good old days" and there's nothing wrong with listening to Harry call Brad Lidge's strike out of Eric Hinske over and over again.

2009 Topps #278
3.  Don't listen to sports talk radio.
Honestly, I've tuned in to very little sports talk radio over the past decade and I consider myself wiser because of it.  Sports talk radio does not exist to inform its listeners or provide meaningful insight into the nuances of the game.  It exists to sell advertising space.  For a frustrated Phillies fan, nothing good has ever come to listening to sports talk radio.  Turn it off.

4.  Enjoy the ballpark(s).
Citizens Bank Park is a fantastic place to watch a game.  Sure, it's probably too expensive, but most ballparks in major cities are.  The food is good, there's not a bad seat in the house and the organization has done a great job giving its fans an enjoyable experience with every visit.

Also keep in mind that the team's Triple-A (Lehigh Valley), Double-A (Reading) and Low-A (Lakewood) affiliates are within driving distance.  If you need a break from the big squad, jump in the car and head to a minor league game to scout the 2014 or 2015 Phillies.

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter N43 #N43-CU
5.  Cheer for Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz while you still can.
I remember when the 1980 Phillies started breaking up and it was difficult for me to understand why Greg Luzinski, Larry Bowa and Bob Boone were playing on other teams.  The last remnants of the 2008 Phillies team are barely holding on and there's a very real possibility that Chooch and Utley are playing elsewhere in 2014.  Utley may not even last the full season in red pinstripes.

6.  Collect the cards.
The Phillies were not a very good team during my formidable years as a kid growing up in South Jersey but that didn't stop me from wanting to track down different Ricky Jordan, Don Carman or Pat Combs cards.  If you're reading this, chances are you're a die-hard Phillies fan and a collector of their baseball cards.  Don't let the crappy product on the field taint your enjoyment of your hobby.

7.  Look to the future.
Pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater in roughly 230 days.  Without getting all A. Barlett Giamatti here, it's true that baseball is a funny game and team's fortunes can change drastically from season to season.  Remind yourself that it won't be long until a future Phillies team causes someone to say, "Wow, these guys play like the 2009 Phillies!"

So help me, Ricky Otero, we'll get there again.

I missed nine games during my vacation, and I'm going to post nine brief game summaries tomorrow in a colossal, post-vacation catch-up.  You may want to avoid the blog tomorrow if you don't want to relive the misery.


Steve F. said...

They did worst to first in 1993, and maybe they'll do it again in 2014!

(Even if they aren't technically the "worst" in their record this year, they are definitely the "worst" that we've seen them in a long time.)

deal said...

Looks like 2012 04 29 is game date for the pix on the CBP card at the top

capewood said...

To me, the Phillies need some sort of spark but I'm at a loss as to where it will come from. It seemed this way last year too and it never did come.

I watch the Phillies on and I like the TV team, especially Sarge.

maine mariner said...

I think the Phils need to look at what Boston did last year and use that as a possible blueprint on how to refresh since nobody in the front office likes the word rebuild.

When that 1980 team broke up it hit home hard. Seeing Luzinski in a Sox uniform and Bowa with the Cubs was horrible; but the hardest for me personally was seeing Carlton in another uniform. Being left handed he was my sports hero growing up.

The beauty of it is that they have that TV contract coming up and there should be no excuses to spend a little money to continue being one of the better teams in baseball.

Steve F. said...

Nice work on id'ing the game, deal!

I'll chime in that the third card pictured is from October 29, 2008. :-)

Jim said...

Nice job with the game ID!

I'm hoping they're only one or two pieces away from contending again. I'm also hoping that Utley is still with the team come September . . . and again in April.