The Philadelphia Phillies would have us believe that ace pitcher Roy Halladay will be game-ready as soon as he regains his strength, and the 10 pounds he lost due to a stomach virus. Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee continues to stick with his plans for Halladay to make his first scheduled start on April 3rd in Atlanta.
Further evidence that things aren’t just about a bellyache is the fact that Halladay’s pitches have remained far south of the 90 mph benchmark that today’s crop of premiere pitchers aspire to, and consistently exceed. And when Cole Hamels, rightfully so, gets the opening day pitching nod, we’re witnessing a significant changing of the guard for the Phillies pitching staff.
Also disturbing is the continuing practice of Phillies management to be less than forthright about the physical condition of their players. Some may argue that current health care legislation which guarantees privacy regarding the health status of an individual is the reason why companies–including professional sports teams–are reluctant to share any factual information about their players health. Yet, the Phillies have revealed enough information through innuendo and inference on the health of their players to reduce any concern about violating the law.
One of the more noteworthy examples of this practice includes Chase Utley’s struggles with his knees, which caused him to miss a significant part of the 2012 season. In fact, the Phillies openly revealed that Utley is dealing with two conditions – patella tendonitis and Chrondromalacia patella. The publicity surrounding his knee sufferings have almost bordered on the obsessive level. Yet, despite the information readily available on those conditions, Phillies General Manager, Reuben Amaro consistently presented a vague scenario regarding Utley’s probable return and in what condition.
Maybe it’s me, but when either Amaro or Dubee gives updates on the health status of a particular Phillie, I lose all objectivity and tend to stop listening. It’s either that, or turn down the sound level of the radio or television. Like my mother always said, “if you can’t say something truthful about someone’s health – don’t say anything at all.” Well, maybe it was a version of that saying.
All of which leads me back to the issue of Roy Halladay. The emotional part of me would love to see the Phillies return to the World Series and win it which gets me excited about the potential of the 2013 team. However, the rational part of me is screaming that I shouldn’t be so naïve.
Injuries happen, especially to older players, and as we’re reminded constantly, the Phillies have their share of thirty-somethings–including Halladay. Sadly, Phillies fans are all in the same boat. We have a hard time separating truth from fiction when we try to assess the physical condition of our team which leaves us out in left field when talking about the postseason and World Series possibilities.
My prediction: the Phillies can/might/should contend for the NL East title, but the breaks (maybe not a good word to use in this case) have to go their way. Oh, and Halladay? He won’t be a factor this year or any other future year as a Phillie. Count on it.