At the end of June, the Philadelphia Phillies came off a seven-game road trip where they went 5-2 and had shown some signs of life. There was talk of the playoffs, not blowing the team up at the trade deadline and that maybe, just maybe, this team was better than we all thought.
The Phillies then proceeded to go 2-6 over the course of the homestand that followed, completely falling apart and getting swept by their division rival the Atlanta Braves. And the pain didn’t end there as the Phillies continued to lose, dropping nine of their last 10 games and all but assuring themselves of a huge sale at the trade deadline.
Even manager Ryne Sandberg was surprised how the team could fall so far in such a short span of time, saying, “Well, I’m surprised because it all happened so quickly in a ten-day, two-week period where it looked like we were right on the verge of knocking on the door, being three games out—three and a half games out less than two weeks ago.”
But now the Phillies are showing a heartbeat again, having won three straight games against the Milwaukee Brewers. All of a sudden people are asking if GM Ruben Amaro Jr. should hold off on pulling the trigger on a rebuild until the last possible minute to give the team a chance to prove they’re better than their record indicates.
To which I reply that this team has already shown everyone that they are exactly what their record indicates: an overpaid, underachieving ball club that is in desperate need of change.
I refuse to fall into the trap again of thinking this team is any good or that they have a chance to do anything in the postseason. As soon as I do, they will go and lose another six games straight, making me and all the other Phillies fans out there who believe in them look like fools. It’s time for everyone — fans, management and the players — to get on the same page when it comes to the future of the Phillies.
New blood needs to be injected into this franchise — young blood that is hungry for wins and will play like it. They need players who won’t rest on the laurels of past victories and glory days gone by or won’t be happy until they are part of a team of contenders again.
Say what you want about Phillies’ closer Jonathan Papelbon, but of all the current members of this team, he seems to have the kind of attitude you want to see in a baseball player this time of year. When asked about if he wanted to play for a contender instead of remaining with the Phillies, he said, “Of course, man. What kind of question is that?”
Change is needed, regardless of how the 2014 season turns out. And the sooner that happens, the better.