‹ For those who remember the hallowed grounds of Veterans Stadium, also remember the great fans in the Yellow Seats. We were the ones who had to walk the furthest, yell the loudest, but also showed our pride the best. My sports viewpoint comes from that view, that of the working man who saved all week to get a ticket in the “cheap seats”. Here is that view for the past week.
The Phillies playoff chances are over. They have 4 games left and need to win 2 just to be a .500 team. This from a team that was 9 games over .500 at end of May and still 4 games over at the halfway mark. The team fought off some injuries early on but couldn’t keep it going. The problem is not injuries or slumps, it is in management, both front office and on the field.
On the field, manager Gabe Kapler relies on analytics, basically making the team a “start-o-matic” team. Shuffling lineups, checking launch angles, low pitch counts are all tools of analytics. They didn’t work last year for the Phightins and didn’t work this year either. Good managers form a game plan, set it in motion, and if it doesn’t work, either alter it or scrap it. None of this was seen this year. Really not sure where in the Analytics world putting a pitcher in the outfield and an outfielder on the mound falls into play, but it didn’t work. Or where it says you bat your 2 power hitters one and two in the lineup. I don’t care if you use launch angles, or as Charlie would say, just hit the dang ball, batting one-two as opposed to three-four where they belong makes a huge difference. Each spot in the lineup has a role as to how to hit. Power hitters don’t hit one-two, plain and simple.
The Front Office gets some of the blame in this as well. There were injuries in the beginning and the GM, Matt Klentak, added some pieces to keep the team going. But when it came to the trade deadline and it was blatantly obvious that the team needed pitching help, minor additions were acquired. In all 50 pitchers changed teams, big names changed uniforms, but our beloved Phils got Drew Smiley and Justin Vargas. Both in a normal rotation are no better than a 4 or 5 starter. With Jake Arrieta going down, the Phillies were left with Aaron Nola and a bunch of guys who did their best but that isn’t good enough to win in the stretch run. We desperately needed quality starters and there were plenty of 1s, 2s, and 3s available and the Phils had the money but probably not enough disposable talent to make a trade.
When looking back on the Phils season in terms of management, that is who failed the fans. Gabe and his analytics, who knows maybe they work in a perfect world with no injuries or slumps, but that isnt baseball so I don’t believe they work. Then in upper management, who couldn’t see the need for better pitching, did very little at the trade deadline to help the team out of the tailspin. I speak for myself and many fans that I know when I say it is time for a major shakeup to get this team on track. You just committed to 300 million for Bryce, at least get him a manager who can win and a GM who can see what pieces are still needed.
The Eagles at 1-2??? All I can say is “Practice, you talking about practice man.” Yes I am. Watching the games for the first 3 weeks you can plainly see which teams starters took some hits in August and which didn’t. The Eagles are in the didn’t column. I don’t like it but we can’t change that. Need to look at each week and get the guys healthy who got hurt early on. 1-2 is not where anyone expected the Birds to be. They are supposed to be preppjng for another Super Bowl run. Now they need to fight back to right the ship. Tonight’s game in Green Bay is a tough one. The Tundra is not frozen but the stands will be filled with green and gold, not green and white. This will be a huge test. Let’s see if Doug can handle it and we can get through without any more injuries. And a few sacks wouldn’t hurt.
The Temple Owls whom I thought, with a win, may get more top 25 votes lost a tough one in Buffalo. Had to be a tough game on the road after a huge win over a ranked team in number 21 Maryland. This week they are in South Philly against Georgia Tech. They should beat the rambling wreck but we will see. Temple looked like 2 different teams from the Maryland game to the Buffalo game. Hopefully the guys who played Maryland will show up on Saturday.
True Philly phans have all spent time in the Yellow Seats and know the feeling of having a beer soaked shirt, doing your best to hot the field with a snowball and walking forever to your seat, at least a 2 beer walk. This is why we love our teams and hold them in the highest regard. The players know it but it seems the managers and front offices have forgotten since the iconic Vet was torn down. We are still here and I am but one voice of many. We love you but we demand better than what we are seeing. Now go Birds. My prediction a shootout win 40-37.