The Four Philly Sports Questions

  1. Why are the Flyers more likely to see the Cup of Elijah than Lord Stanley’s Cup?
  2. Will the Phillies give out more unearned runs than unleavened bread?
  3. Can the Sixers avoid having egg matzah on their faces with an early playoff exit?
  4. When will the Eagles stop passing over top talent in the draft?

To be a Philadelphia sports fan is to expect failure, and to be pleasantly surprised if one’s team reaches (yet alone succeeds in) the post-season. That is simple historical fact, but it also shields fans from the emotional letdown of great expectations. Let’s focus on the nascent baseball season, which always kicks off around Passover time, and begs the question: “Why is this year different than all other years?”

When I grew up with the Phillies in the 1950s, we had two legitimate stars, the speedy singles hitter Richie Ashburn and the complete game rubber armed Robin Roberts. But not much else in the way of talent, and the club’s record showed it. Then in 1964 we caught lightning in a bottle before the bottle exploded. The epic collapse of that team down the stretch taught Phillies fans to take nothing for granted. More years of struggle returned until, in the late ’70s the club had put together enough home grown talent (Boone, Bowa, Luzinski, and Schmidt) together with key acquisitions like Carlton, McGraw, Rose, and Maddox) to field a team that had a nice six or seven year nucleus to make a serious run each year. The team then reverted to another dry spell before catching lightning in a bottle in 1993, the collapse this time occurring in the World Series. It would be another 15 years before the team would make it back to the Series, this time fueled by the formula it had lacked since the late 70s – solid home grown talent spearheaded by Rollins, Utley, Howard, and Hamels.

True to form, this year began with many more questions than answers. Consider the following:

Why Is the Phillies' Lineup Not Hitting?

  1. The Phillies once again have a dearth of home grown talent. The only established player we thought we had was Aaron Nola, but #27 seems to have faded toward mediocrity. Home grown talent is almost an oxymoron when it comes to any Phillies pitcher not named Cole Hamels.
  2. Alec Bohm always had an air of arrogance, but who could blame him? That is, until last year, when his trustworthy bat failed him. The Phillies hired IF coach Juan Castro and sent him to the Fall League to help Bohm’s defense, but he remains an all-around question mark now.
  3. After years of mediocrity, Mickey Moniak appeared to emerge in Spring Training this year, stealing the CF job before a bad break sidelined him. When he comes back, can he pick up where he left off? Matt Vierling, his replacement, has gotten off to such a bad start in 2022 that people are pining for Odubel Herrera to replace him.
  4. Bryson Stott looked hot in the spring, but this is his first taste of the bigs. It’s a league of adjustments, and as confident as we are he can make it. he’ll remain a question mark until his proves he belongs with consistent performance on the field.
  5. Bryce Harper is a legit star as a position player, and apparently campaigned effectively to add bats in the spring. Diamond Dave went along, and talked ownership into blowing by the luxury tax with the signing of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos.
  6. Kyle Schwarber as a leadoff hitter? Big question mark. He’s there because he had an absurdly good year in 2021 in that role with the Red Sox, putting up a .291/.435/.522 slash line. A .435 OBP? Can’t get much better than that, but nothing in his resumé indicates he’s that good. Consider his first full year with the Cubs in 2017 when he slashed .211/.315/.467. Or the ugly .188/.308/.393 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season after which the Cubbies let him walk. Plus Schwarber has notoriously poor April/May starts – not a good fit at the top spot for a club that can’t pick him up until (and if ….).

Ricky Bo addressed the Schwarber sh*t show and Nola’s struggles on the John Kincade Show:

These are just a handful of questions, and we haven’t even mentioned how iffy Didi Gregorius and Rhys Hoskins are. With shaky pitching, this club was apparently put together by Diamond Dave to try and catch lightning in a bottle like 1964 and 1993. It’s what he’s good at, rather than building a club that sustains anything. But after 10 consecutive seasons of mediocrity, Phils’ fans will have little patience for a club that stumbles out of the starting gate. Which is precisely what the Phillies are doing.

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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1 Response to The Four Philly Sports Questions

  1. doctuhdon says:

    We are doomed to devastating disappointment

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