Friday, July 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Ya Gotta Believe

The Phillies open the NLDS against the Brewers tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park. Is it time to think positive?

Ya Gotta Believe

"When you expect a team to win, believe me, that goes a long way," Jimmy Rollins said.
"When you expect a team to win, believe me, that goes a long way," Jimmy Rollins said. TOM MIHALEK / Associated Press

Phil Sheridan has a crazy idea for Phillies fans at Citizens Bank Park this week for the National League division series:

When the Phillies begin their playoff series here tomorrow, let's pack up all the built-up anxiety and unhappy history and put it on ice somewhere. Everything from 1964 to Black Friday to Joe Carter to Kaz Matsui gets tied in a sack, weighted down and thrown into the Schuylkill.

On Saturday evening, over the din of the clinching celebration, oracle and shortstop Jimmy Rollins said something that stuck.

"The fans here, they were expecting us to win," Rollins said, gesturing toward the still-giddy faithful cheering and smiling in the stands. "When you expect a team to win, believe me, that goes a long way."


Rollins has said something like that before. It just sounded better this time because the word "front runners" didn't precede it. Yep, Rollins talked about how the energy at Citizens Bank Park affects the players on the field, whether fans want to admit that or not.

"Negative energy doesn't produce anything positive," Rollins said in front of his locker at Dodger Stadium in August. "That's just the truth. ... Take the team that you have and push them to do better. Don't take Black Friday and put that on these new guys. Some of them don't even know (about it)."

Like I've said before, players sense restlessness in the stands. They sense anger and frustration. They've said it doesn't help. I had a former Phillies player tell me a little more than a year ago that he wonders if negative energy breeds negative results in Philadelphia. He was serious. He believes the negative energy in Philadelphia plays a big role in its 25-year championship drought. Is he crazy? Maybe. Or maybe he's totally sane.

That might be why Sheridan wondered:

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Imagine a parade down Broad Street. It's easy if you try.

We can do this. We have nothing to lose except losing.


*

Larry Bowa has kept an eye on Rollins and Chase Utley from Los Angeles and beyond. He calls them the best double play combo in baseball. The Phillies and Dodgers could play each other in the NL championship series, if things break right.

*

Ryan Howard had a helluva September. The Phillies are hoping he carries that into October.

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It looked like the Brewers needed a miracle to turn around their season after the Phillies swept them earlier this month. They didn't.

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In the Phillies Notebook: a look at how Cole Hamels, Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer have fared against the Brewers.

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The Fightins speaks to yours truly.

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Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
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