May 17, 2013 – Would you rather cheer blindly (and happily) for a team who has struggled for years with little or no success, or enjoy a great five-year run where they dominate the division, win a world championship, and then return to mediocre?
In other words, is it better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all?
I am probably not the only Phillies fan to ponder this age-old question. Their run from 2007 through 2011, and the 2008 championship is the dream of every baseball fan. Now, left with memories of greatness and a present and near future that looks bleak, I almost wish it never happened. Ignorance truly is bliss.
During the bad years, before 2007, I cheered for my flawed team. In 2008, when we finally made it to the ultimate goal, it didn’t satisfy my taste for winning, it made me greedy for more. How I long to return to the days when I did not know better, when I took each game for what it was and enjoyed it despite being out of first place by double digits, back when I was accustomed to mediocrity.
Say what you will about fan faithfulness or jumping off the bandwagon. It does not apply to me. I once was one of those fans that balked when friends and family would say the Phillies stink, and I never counted them out of a playoff run until it was mathematically impossible. Now I am ready to admit defeat this early in the season, agree that they are a bad team, and that I am frustrated because I thought they are capable of more. Sure, they are aging, but I convinced myself at the beginning of the season they had enough gas in the tank to make one more run with this team in tact. Last year, in a season plagued with injuries, I could get away with the excuse that the lack of offense had to do with the absence of key players on the disabled list. They played better in the second half, when Chase Utley and Ryan Howard came back, so the theory seemed plausible. Nevertheless, this year is no better, even with a full team on the field.
I still have my moments of fantasy, and try to keep my momentum up for the team. I went to Wednesday’s terrible 10-4 loss against the Indians, and I look at the standings and realize that the NL East is still up for grabs. Atlanta or Washington is not running away with this division, as the experts predicted. Unfortunately, I do not have the faith the Phillies will take advantage of this situation and do something about it. They look defeated, as if they have given up themselves. That leaves me scratching my head wondering why I should care. There is nothing left to say except my beloved team is not doing their part to keep me interested, and that is a painful confession.
How can we fix this? Only one thought comes to mind. It is time to say goodbye to many core members of this team that I once loved, become sellers at the trade deadline, and hope we can get our competitive edge back quickly. My faith and passion for baseball and the Phillies depend on it.