For the first time in a few years, the Philadelphia Phillies are not one of the most talked abut teams in the MLB. While some people are wondering why they are not being talked about, despite still having talent on the team, it is possible this will help the Phillies this season.
It is clear that the Phillies have been one of the top teams in the league since winning their second world series title in franchise history in 2008. They have received a lot of national attention since becoming a power house in the National League. During the regular season, the pressure of the national media did not affect the team, as they improved their regular season record every year from 2009-2011. However, during the playoffs they have failed to live up to expectations, dropping from the world series in 2009 to losing in the NLDS in 2011 and then missing the playoffs last year.
The last time the Phillies were not a top team in the national media’s eye was 2008 when they won the world series. It is unclear whether the lack of national pressure had anything to do with the ’08 team’s success, but it showed that the core of this team loves playing as the underdog and being counted out.
Now, along with being out of the national spotlight, the Phillies are also out of the spotlight of their own division. The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves have taken over the coverage of the East and the National League as a whole. Bryce Harper is even being featured on this week’s cover of Sports Illustrated. Not being one of the top teams in the division could create a chip on the shoulders of the Phillies who will not be used to being this far from the top of the division, after winning the title every year from 2007-2011.
It seems like the Phillies like the idea of being the underdog in the division and throughout the league. It provides them the opportunity to back up their statements about not being too old and still able to contend for the playoffs. This year could have the same feel to it as 2007 and 2008 did when the Phillies believed they had the talent to win the division even though other teams did not. We all know what that type of attitude did for those teams.