I was briefly watching a Phillies game on TV today (they actually won!), and I realized that besides the names of a couple of the starting pitchers, I couldn’t name one position player on the team.
If someone gave me the name of one of the starting players, I wouldn’t be able to tell you if the guy played in the infield, outfield, or was the catcher.
Growing up, I knew who played every position, what their order was in the lineup, and could make an educated guess at what their batting average was. I could imitate the batting and pitching styes of many of the players in the league (Joe Morgan of the Reds and Willie Stargell of the Pirates had two of the more memorable batting styles, and who could forget the high kick of Juan Marichal of the Giants). I remember Tony Taylor blessing himself before every bat, the way Richie Allen held his 40 ounce bat, and Jim Bunning’s unique sidearm delivery.
I remember the fun Phillies teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s, led by Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Greg Luzinski, Larry Bowa, and Steve Carlton, highlighted by winning the World Series in 1980.
I remember the great teams of the 2000s, featuring Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz, Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth. That team won the World Series in 2008.
While the Phillies and other Philly sports teams have had some success over the years, most of the time the teams are mediocre at best. Despite that, I have always been a fan.
But even during the lean years of the Phillies, I would at least have a sense of who the players on the team were.
So I’m not sure what is different now about the current Phillies team, and why I don’t know any of them. And it’s not like I’ve lost interest in baseball; it’s still my favorite of the four major professional sports.
I hope I haven’t become a jump on the bandwagon sort of fan who only gets interested when the hometown team is doing well.
So maybe I need to watch a few of the games, but I never seem to find the time (even though there are 162 of them!)
And, sorry to admit this, it would also help a bit if they would win a little more often…
Let’s go Phils!