Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Oh No, Our Phillies Are Folding!

Here in Philadelphia, many of us are more inclined to believe four meaningless games in September rather than the 150 games that preceded them.

Oh No, Our Phillies Are Folding!

The Phillies aren´t hanging their heads over the team´s recent skid. ( Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer )
The Phillies aren't hanging their heads over the team's recent skid. ( Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer )

I don’t care how many division titles the Phillies have won in succession, you can’t take the Philadelphia out of Philadelphians.

Despite the greatest regular season in Phillies history, a couple of meaningless losses in meaningless games has much of this city’s fan base in a red-(and-white)hot panic mode.

Hey, that’s how we roll.

We aren’t built for sustained success. We don’t believe good things will happen until an hour after they do. Even if we didn’t personally endure 1964 or know anything about Black Friday, the residue of those baseball disasters boils in our DNA.

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You can hear it in the voice of homegrown broadcaster Chris Wheeler every time a late rally threatens a Phillies lead. You can hear it in the tone of agitated talk-show callers, read it in terror-filled Tweets.

Just as surely as Midwesterners are cheerily optimistic, Philadelphians are dark-souled pessimists. The negativity drapes our city like some gigantic Klaes Oldenburg work.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We are not saps. We are not born suckers. You can’t fool us, because we never trusted you to begin with.

So when the Phillies drop four straight immediately after clinching another NL East title, you can hear a collective “Here we go!” ring through the city. Suddenly, every minor flaw becomes a major concern.

Chase Utley is done. Hunter Pence is lame. Roy Halladay is arm weary. Cole Hamels is worrying about his next contract. Ryan Howard is not only hurt but he chokes in the big games. Michael Stutes is back on planet earth. Antonio Bastardo’s confidence is shot. Brad Lidge has no fastball.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Maybe this September swoon means something. Maybe it doesn’t. We won’t know until October. That’s what makes postseason baseball so intriguing.

So relax. Take a deep breath. Have a beer. Smile.

Your Phillies just might win another World Series -- assuming those choking dogs don’t lie down again like they did against the Giants a year ago.

Inquirer Sports Columnist
About this blog
Reporter Frank Fitzpatrick, a 2001 Pulitzer Prize finalist, is covering his eighth Olympic Games and has yet to win a medal in anything except caffeine consumption. He has also been the beat writer for the Phillies, Eagles and Penn State football.

Frank Fitzpatrick Inquirer Sports Columnist
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