If someone asked, why should I root for the Philadelphia Phillies? I’d have to think for a moment. Not because I don’t think the Phillies are root worthy, oh quite the contrary. But for me I was born to be a Phillies fan and don’t know any different. So its almost implausible that there are people out there who don’t like them. But I’m a realist and certainly not delusional. Though I don’t feel the Phillies are loathed as much as maybe say the Yankees, I do think some might be tired of seeing them make the postseason…five years in a row to be exact. And advancing to the World Series twice in that time frame, once winning it all.
And though I could probably name a 1,000 reasons why someone SHOULD root for the Phillies, here are just a few:
Cliff Lee: Here’s a guy who turned down the Yankees to come play for the city of Brotherly Love. A pitcher as dominating as Lee WANTED to be a Phillie again…that speaks volumes. He was voted the NL pitcher for the month of August and with six shutouts this season along with hitting two homeruns, Lee is the real deal. Can’t dispute the facts. He might come off as smug but once you see and hear him speak, he’s just a regular guy who happens to be one of the best pitchers too.
Roy ‘Doc’ Halladay: The reigning NL Cy Young winner is the starter for Game 1 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals and deservedly so. With a 19-6 record and 2.35 ERA, Halladay had another Cy Young caliber season. And if you haven’t ever seen the MLB2K11 commercial with Halladay hanging with his ‘Chooch’ pillow, its a must-see. Many think Halladay is so serious all the time, this commercial proves otherwise.
Cole Hamels: “Mr. Hollywood” had a decent season with a 14-7 record and 2.79 ERA. At times he struggled with giving up the long ball and like last year, had to deal with his offense not showing up for him. But overall Cole’s maturity on the mound showed through and the once petulant guy took the losses in stride.
“Good game, Lets Go Eat”: At the end of July, the Phillies smartly acquired right-fielder Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros. I had previously referred to Pence as a “Phillies Killer” because he always stepped up his game when he versed them. But now he IS a Phillie and at first I wasn’t sure it was a good signing. Well what the hell do I know, the guy is all kinds of awesome. From his athletic ability to the immense amount of energy he exudes, the guy has been a substantial spark that the Phillies batting line up truly needed. And his now infamous, “Lets Go Eat” quote just endeared him more to the legions of Philly fans (along with his stripping at a charity fashion show SEE PHOTO). Gotta love his no nonsense approach to everything. View’s writer Karilee Jeantet* did a terrific piece on Pence’s quotes, you can read it here: Fun With Hunter Pence Quotes
For the Fan Girls out there:
There are a couple of young rookies for you to enjoy. One sports an awesome mohawk (best in baseball in my book), red specs and a pair of dimples that are hard to ignore. His name is Vance Worley and he moved up from Triple-A to the majors will such ease that many find it hard to believe he is just a mere 24 years-old. Then there’s reliever Michael Stutes who is just downright cute and for most of the season being the newest rookie, he had to carry a pink Hello Kitty backpack (filled with goodies and treats for the bullpen guys) and wear a pink boa around his neck. He wore both proudly and to be honest, looked good doing it. And by the way, both Worley and Stutes are damn good pitchers, so aside from looks and fun personalities, they have definitely been key assets to the team’s success.
2nd Meanest Player in Baseball: That honor was bestowed upon second baseman Chase Utley and I guess playing tough and committing 100% to everything he does pissed some people off. I find it absurd that Utley was even on the list let alone the 2nd vote getter. He missed all of spring training and first two months of the regular season with a knee issue. But though at times, he has struggled at the plate, Utley remains one of the most loved and respected players on the Phillies roster. Watch for yourself to judge if he’s as ‘mean’ as some claim.
The Closer: Brad Lidge ended up injured and missed a chunk of the season. Jose Contreras then took over the closer role but soon found himself injured as well. So the job went to righthander Ryan Madson, who felt he was more than capable of embracing the role. And that he did. Though he too was injured for a brief time, he still managed to finish out the regular season with 32 saves.
Can’t forget the other guys such as, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Raul Ibanez, and of course there’s Carlos ‘Chooch’ Ruiz. All of them are worth watching and rooting for, whether it be for Raaauuullll or the Flyin’ Hawaiian Victorino, they always make it exciting. And then there’s the bench guys that includes Wilson Valdez, Michael Martinez, John Mayberry, Jr. and Pete Orr.
Add relievers Antonio Bastardo and rookie Michael Schwimer into the fold and this is one hell of team, as their 102-60 record proves.
Best Mascot in Baseball: You would have to be living under a rock to not know who or what the Phillies Phanatic is. The big, furry, green lovable mascot has been voted the best in baseball (numerous times) and sometimes, the best in ALL of sports. How can anyone NOT love him? Whether he’s taunting the opposing team or dancing on top of the dugout, after all of these years I still find him incredibly entertaining, even at my ‘older’ age! He brings out the kids in all of us.
Charlie Manuel: The skipper with a heart of gold that the players absolutely love playing for. He just reached 646 wins as the Phillies manager, setting a franchise record. I don’t think there are many people out there if any who don’t respect and like Charlie, even when some of his decisions draw debates.
Overall the Phillies want nothing more than to give their city and the fans another World Series Championship. They play with such heart and passion that I feel if you haven’t jumped on the Phillies bandwagon yet, you just might be missing out.
*Karilee (Jeantet) was kind enough to offer her insight:
“This postseason is setting up to be one of the best in recent history. All the teams are playing with a passion and intensity that is not often seen, however, the Phillies have set themselves apart. They have a pitching staff that is one for the ages. When Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are on their game, they are untouchable. Oh yeah, Roy Oswalt is the 4th starter. That’s good. The team is full of exciting, likable guys. Players that know what it means to play 27 outs and refuse to stop playing until the end of the game. There is not an ego among them. They win and lose as a team and are bound to win it all, together.”