Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Taney providing decent alternative to terrible Phillies season

We were on the verge of another rough summer in Philadelphia. The Phillies were in last place and likely to stay there, until a miracle happened.

Taney providing decent alternative to terrible Phillies season

Taney Phanatic Mo´ne Davis

We were on the verge of another rough summer in Philadelphia. The Phillies were in last place and likely to stay there, until a miracle happened.

No, the Phillies are not suddenly good again, thanks to the power of a young boy’s wish, or because they got a friendly baseball-playing dog in the lineup. The 2014 Phillies are a lost cause. Just look away from them.

The miracle was that another team, a better team, arose to take the Phillies’ place. And while they may not be professionals, or even adults, and their season may be a fraction of the Phillies’, the Taney Dragons have been unarguably more fun to watch.

The contrast is especially evident when you put the two teams next to each other, which is what we’ve done here. On the one side, the glorious, youthful Taney Dragons, pushing through the Little League World Series tournament bracket; on the other, the Phillies, slowly disintegrating into ash.

We’ve got to do something until Taney plays again.

AUGUST 8

Zion Spearman – the Dragons are already beating the Phillies in “name coolness” – socks a three-run homer in the fourth inning against Colonie, a team from New York and therefore evil. Spearman may have been the least impressed by his offense, as his coach had to convince him not to give the ball away.

Mo’ne Davis pitched so well she broke a robot.

WHAT THE PHILLIES WERE DOING:

"It's time to get better,” A.J. Burnett said.

In the fifth inning against the Mets, he allowed hits to six of the first seven batters. The Mets built a 5-1 lead, but watched it slip away as Grady Sizemore hit a two-run double and Cody Asche lucked into an RBI ground out in the ninth, making it 5-4. The rally was on.

Several moments later, the rally was off, as Reid Brignac struck out and the Phillies did not get better.

Burnett would announce 10 days later that he was "probably" leaving baseball forever at the end of the season.

AUGUST 10

An 8-0 pounding of the Newark Little League team solidified Taney’s place in the LLWS. Mo’ne Davis put up six innings of three-hit ball, striking out six. Shortstop Jared Sprague-Lott was an RBI machine, knocking in three runs all by himself. Zion Spearman's impressive, cool-sounding campaign continued as he ignited the crowd with a steal of home.

WHAT THE PHILLIES WERE DOING:

In a display Ryan Howard would call “a little violent,” the Phillies chased down and attacked their first baseman immediately following a game against the Mets. Fortunately, it was because of that timeless baseball tradition of raining blows down upon the player responsible for a walk-off win.

In this case, it was a 7-6 victory over the Mets, thanks in part to starter Kyle Kendrick, who gave up six runs, five earned, through five innings and allowed for the hole to be dug that would necessitate a dramatic comeback win. Thanks, Kyle!

AUGUST 15

The Dragons gave Mo'ne Davis some early runs to work with against Nashville - a concept that confused and enraged any Phillie watching - and she cruised through six innings of shutout ball for their first victory in the LLWS bracket. 

WHAT THE PHILLIES WERE DOING:

Instead of a tone-setting, first-inning home run off the scalding hot bat of Jared Sprague-Lott, the Phillies had a tone-altering, late-inning home run off the cold, noodley bat of Cody Asche.

It was exactly what they needed to beat the Giants, 5-3; “it” being “runs,” a baseball commodity seen less and less by the Phillies offense. Asche’s dinger came off Jeremy Affeldt, who hadn’t given up a home run to a lefty since 2011. Truly, it was a special night.

Yes, the Phillies did it again. When was the last time they hadn’t won? Would they ever not win again?

Yes. Yes they would. Very soon, in fact.

AUGUST 17

The dream was ending in Williamsport, as Taney entered the sixth inning, down 6-5 to the Southwest U.S. representative Pearland, Texas squad. Again, it was Zion Spearman with an RBI-triple and a throwing error by Pearland that gave the Dragons a walk off victory.

WHAT THE PHILLIES WERE DOING:

The Phillies were starting to demonstrate increasingly impressive levels of cohesion.

They were also putting the finishing touches on a series loss to the Giants, stranding eight of their 12 Bay Area base runners, and beating up on Tim Lincecum while also somehow losing to him. The Giants climbed a notch in their playoff hopes, and the Phillies tied with the Cubs for the league’s fifth-worst winning percentage.

Ben Revere had some intense language following the game, saying the afternoon’s events had been “…kind of frustrating. It kind of ticked me off and the whole team.”

YESTERDAY:

WHAT THE PHILLIES WERE DOING:

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