Tension Time

Tension Time

September 1 is here: back-to-school time, end of summer vacations and tension time during pennant and wild card races. 

As has been mentioned over and over, the Phillies haven’t tasted post-season cheese steaks since 1993.  Yes, that’s a long dry spell.  No, it hasn’t been 13 consecutive losing seasons.  Yes, the wild card has been there for the taking in recent years and slipped by Philadelphia.

As tension time arrives it has been pointed out the Phillies have the easier schedule because they play teams under .500.  True, but that can be a lot of Lebanon bologna. 

Sure, the Braves are under the .500 water level, but they still carry 13 straight division titles.  That’s a lot of trophy case hardware.

Next, the Astros.  All they’ve done since May 18, 2003, is go 12-0 against the Phillies.  In each of the last two years, the Astros have been the National League’s wild card winner. 

The Marlins are hotter than Florida weather, steamy hot.  There are 10 games left for the Phillies with those southern Florida kids.  Twice the Marlins have advanced as the wild card team, 1997 and 2003, and each time they won the World Series.

The Cubs and the Nationals are struggling big-time but there’s no greater joy for those teams than to play the spoiler’s role.

Someone once said, there are no vacation games in baseball.  How true.

As has also been mentioned, the National League wild card race is up for grabs among “imperfect teams,” “a weak league” and “on and on”.  A race is a race, whether it is kids on tricycles in the neighborhood or men in souped-up racing cars in Daytona. 

       Teams with .500 records or under qualify for the playoffs in the NBA and NHL every year.  Imperfect teams?  Weak league?  In those two sports, the format is for a lot of teams to make the playoffs.  In baseball eight teams out of 30 qualify, only two being wild card teams.

The Phillies have been to five World Series in their history.  Circumstances were different.  In 1915 and 1950, you had to be the league champion, no divisions or wild cards.  In 1980, 1983 and 1993, the Phillies were Eastern Division winners who advanced following one round of playoffs.  The wild card came into being in 1995 when the leagues were spilt into three divisions.  It was one of the best moves baseball made.

Five NL wild card winners have advanced to the World Series. 

There’s a lot of interest in baseball as the final weeks approach because of the wild card race.  That’s good for the soul and hard on the nerves.

2 Comments

LARRY, HOW TRUE THAT A RACE IS A RACE!!! THE PEOPLE WHO SAY ITS NOT A REAL RACE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO GRIPE AND MOAN EACH YEAR THE PHILLIES MISS THE PLAYOFFS. THEY ARE HYPOCRITES! PLAYOFFS DONT COME OFTEN WITH THIS FRANCHISE AND ILL TAKE WHATEVER I GET AS FAR AS PLAYOFF ACTION. INCIDENTALLY, IS THERE ANY CHANCE PAT GILLICK WILL GO OUT AND ACQUIRE JUAN PIERRE FROM THE CUBS BY TOMORROW. HE IS A FREE AGENT AT YEARS END, SO THERE IS NOTHING SAYING YOU MUST KEEP HIM. HE WOULD PROVIDE A GREAT BOOST AS A LEADOFF HITTER(SORRY I KNOW ROLLINS HAS DONE BETTER THE SECOND HALF BUT HE IS NOT A REAL LEADOFF HITTER)AND HAS WON A RING, BRINGING PLAYOFF EXPERIENCE FOR THE STRETCH RUN. IMAGINE HIM ON BASE WITH SAY EITHER DELUCCI OR VICTORINO BEHIND HIM, FOLLOWED BY UTLEY AND HOWARD. J ROLL WOULD BE A GOOD 6 HITTER. PIERRE’S DEFENSE IS NOT THE GREATEST, BUT I WILL CHANCE IT FOR WHAT HE BRINGS TO THE TABLE AS A LEADOFF GUY, ESPECIALLY IN THIS LINEUP. ALSO, I KNOW ITS EARLY FIOR THE OFFSEASON, BUT CARLOS LEE IS A FREE AGENT. THE METS HAVE DELGADO PROTECTING BELTRAN, IMAGINE HOWARD IF LEE WAS HITTING BEHIND HIM. I KNOW GILLICK SAID HE WASNT GOING TO SPEND TONS OF MONEY ON A FREE AGENT PITCHER, THEN WHY NOT GET A GUY LIKE LEE, YOUNG ENOUGH TO AROUND FOR ANOTHER 5-7 YEARS. IF THE PITCHERS DEVELOP, THIS MOVE COULD PUT THE PHILLIES UP NEAR THE METS NEXT YEAR. TAKE CARE AND HOPE TO SEE YOU IN THE PLAYOFFS.

Another season down the drain! Yes, that’s a very drastic statement after one loss, but for the first time since Abreu’s departure the chemistry of the team must be questioned. Last night, Ryan Howard, finished off one of the most memorable months in Phillies history by breaking Mike Schmidt’s franchise home run record. And on his record setting night after patiently waiting for 3 years in the minors and shagging fly balls in the offseason he was drilled by a fast ball in the arm. For three innings I waited for the Phil’s to show their appreciation for 16 hr and 41 rbi in Aug. by protecting their best player and throwing at one of their’s. It didn’t even have to be Soriano who’s entire body is over the plate anyway. Not only did they not protect him but he took some heat for an errant toss and took the bat out of his hands in the 9th by bunting Rollins to second. Last night was Ryno’s night and instead of questioning his fielding in the 10th, there should have been hugs and smiles after 9 innings at the center of RFK Stadium to celebrate his record and the team’s accomplishment of tying the Padres for the wild card lead. Last season David Bell was thrown out by Carlos Beltran in the 8th inning against the Mets trying to run 1st to 3rd on a single and I stopped watching the Phil’s out of disgust. This season I must turn my back earlier b/c the team showed their lack of unity and appreciation to even throw inside after Ryan showed the most disgust and anger that I have seen in his short career by tossing his bat and staring at the pitcher. I understand that based on the 2 run lead they couldn’t bring the tying run up to the plate by giving a free pass but I also understand that for the first time ever a Phillie will hit 50 home runs in a season and b/c of that I want to say thanks for a great season Ryan and keep up the good work.

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