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The Greatest Story Ever Told

For Postgame analysis of NLCS Game 4, go here.

Calling Game 4 of this NLCS an emotional roller coaster would do it a disservice. It got me out of my seat multiple times for a called strike one. I first-guessed, then second-guessed, then third-guessed any number of decisions by Charlie Manuel. I screamed in agony, I screamed in fear, and I moaned with the resignation of defeat, multiple times–not just in the context of this game, but in the context of this season at large. I invested more of my soul into this game than any other single event that I can remember.

I know in my mind that it’s certainly possible–though not likely–that the Phillies can rip off three wins in a row to take back this NLCS. It might happen–certainly, history indicates that 3-to-1 comebacks are in the realm of possibility. But I find myself with a peculiar mix of feelings, having just digested, quite possibly, the most heart-wrenching loss I’ve suffered as a Phillies fan. Whatever Roy Halladay and (if necessary) Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels do for the next three games, I’ll look back on this season fondly. I think we can all agree that, with 97 wins and (at least) a trip to the NLCS, we’ve had more highs than lows in 2010. But when I stare elimination in the face, it doesn’t bother me that my team won’t win another World Series. Ok, it does, let’s not kid ourselves, but that’s not the part of tonight’s game that will keep me up. It’s that the phenomenal ride that we’ve all gone on together this year could be taken away at any moment.

When I was a senior in college, I watched all four seasons of Battlestar Galactica in 20 days. When it was over, I cried. I was inconsolable in the theater when I went to see Toy Story 3–I’ve never sobbed so much in my life. In both cases, it wasn’t so much because what I was watching, in and of itself, was sad. It was because these characters, whom I had gotten to know so well, were going away. I had immersed myself in the narrative of both series, and once they were over, I felt a profound sense of emptiness. So, too, with these 2010 Phillies.

I take a lot of flack around here for boiling the game down to numbers, and for that I won’t apologize, because I think that throwing around WAR, WPA, OPS+, and the like, are the best way to analyze what each player gives this team. I write about these things because I’m here as an analyst, and it’s my job to give you, the readers, facts and arguments, whether you agree with them or not. But too often I’ve stifled my voice as a fan, which, for better or worse, I am. I live and die with the Phillies, just like you all do.

So when Juan Uribe hit his sacrifice fly to end Game 4, I couldn’t make sense of it from an analytical point of view. All I could think about was how this narrative of the 2010 Phillies, in which I’ve invested hundreds of hours of work, which has brought me unspeakable joy, immeasurable sorrow, white-knuckle moments and days of bliss, could come to an abrupt end in a city known for being the home of Full House and Rice-a-Roni. Between Doc’s two no-hitters, Chooch’s tremendous season, The Ballad of Wilson Valdez, the redemption of Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge, and God only knows how many other subplots, 2010 has been the most drama-filled of any Phillies season I can remember. And, like a favored TV show or movie franchise, I’ve invested too much in its characters and its nuances to let it end without shedding a few tears.

So if, in the unfortunate event that this wonderful, mysterious, mind-bending ride comes to a halt in the NLCS, look out for a man, sitting alone, weeping openly at the end of the bar. If there’s any kindness in your heart, you’ll walk over, put a comforting hand on his shoulder, and tell him that, even though the story’s over, one day everything will be all right.

84 Comments

84 Comments

  1. Phil

    October 21, 2010 at 6:41 am

    If we lose we can always get them next year. But as you said, this story has been an emotional roller coaster, and it isn’t over yet. It wouldn’t be the 2010 Phillies to not make us bite off all of our nails and get a terrible pain from acid reflux in our stomachs before making us the most excited we’ve been since game 5 of the World Series in 2008.

    When we were down 7 games to the Braves in July I kept telling all of my friends that they were still going to win the division. They all laughed at me. Then we got Roy Oswalt, and some of them started thinking we’d take the wild card. By the time September rolled around it felt nice that I was the one person in my group of friends that never lost faith in this team…they’re just too good.

    I still feel that way now. This team is just too good to roll over and die. The Giants are playing incredible baseball and getting the most improbable clutch hits, but we have three pitchers going that can shut that down and a line up that can get clutch hits of their own. The bats woke up last night. Five runs coming off of small ball in the post season is a good scoring night, especially for a scuffling line up in a pitchers park against the best pitching staff in the majors. They can still do this. Have faith in the team because they are really that good.

  2. bfo_33

    October 21, 2010 at 7:13 am

    1 – It’s been an exciting season, and it isn’t over yet. Giants still need to win another game, and we have Doc going tonight..
    2 – There is no crying in baseball. Suck it up you mamby-pamby.

  3. Ted Bell

    October 21, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Next time your found, with your chin on the ground
    There a lot to be learned, so look around

    Just what makes that little old ant
    Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
    Anyone knows an ant, can’t
    Move a rubber tree plant

    But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes
    He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes

    So any time your gettin’ low
    ’stead of lettin’ go
    Just remember that ant
    Oops there goes another rubber tree plant

    I’m Ted Bell.

  4. Jay

    October 21, 2010 at 7:35 am

    I agree, this loss to the Giants would hurt more because they fought back from so much to get where they are now.

  5. Desibrave

    October 21, 2010 at 7:50 am

    If Phillies lose to Giants and gets kicked out it will be the greatest embarassment. Anything less than a WCS victory should be considered as a shame. Halladay, Oswalt came to this ball club not to settle for a division win, they need to win WCS and they know this is the year they have the best chance. As the old guy Manuel said his team is getting old. So this is the year they need to win it all.

    Halladay will produce his A Game but there is no guarantee regarding Oswalt and Hamels, thats my worry, But if they bring the series back to CBP there is a chance for Phillies as they can get the fan support and the hitters park can help them

  6. Phil

    October 21, 2010 at 7:56 am

    God, Desi…you are obviously a new fan. Stop acting like a Yankees fan. We, as Phillies fans, are not entitled to a World Series parade every year. Anything can happen in a short series.

  7. Chuck

    October 21, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Michael…

    EXCELLENT writing.

    I’ve given you some sh*t on here for being too analytical at times. This, however, shows for human side…your FAN side. Well done.

    PHILS IN 7!!!!!!!

  8. Morris Buttermaker

    October 21, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Last year, we all got on Cole’s case for his “just want it to be over with” comment or whatever it was exactly. Last night, it looked like the entire Phillies team took the field with a Can’t Wait to Lose attitude. Every time they did one thing right, they did two things wrong. They are embarrassing the whole city right now.

  9. Chuck

    October 21, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Morris, sorry, but I am not embarrassed. Considering where they were on July 21, I am very proud of these guys. And…this isn’t the thread to say that stuff anyway. Did you actually READ Michael’s piece?? C’mon, bro.

    PHILS IN 7!!!!!!!

  10. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Michael, that was beautiful. I’m with you all the way.

    This is the one year I would accept not going back to the World Series because they gave us one hell of a comeback. I can still remember the devastation of every injury, every trip to the DL. I remember Doc’s perfect game in May, Jamie Moyer’s complete game shutout against Atlanta. The fall from first place was excruciating, yet I wasn’t worried because there was plenty of season left to be played. Who knew it would take until September to battle our way back.

    I remember the expected and unexpected heroes and saviors of this season. I remember Cody Ransom and Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez. I remember Brian Schneider and Mike Sweeney and Dane Sardinha.

    I remember my best moment in CBP during that sixteen inning monster against the Astros. We lost the game, but I’d never been prouder to be at CBP with all the other die-hards who just would not give up on this team.

    I remember good old Uncle Charlie piecing together well over a hundred different starting line-ups using about twenty different players. I remember watching Jamie Moyer leave before the third and calling Kyle Kendrick back from the minors about an hour after he’d been sent down. Okay, it was a week or so, but still. The shock and disbelief as J-Roll and then Polanco and then Utley and then Chooch and then Howard went down as well. Then screaming in frustration when Schneider got hit in the thumb. When were the injuries going to end?

    I remember the devastation of falling behind the Mets and yet the cautious optimism as our utility guys fought back to overtake the Mets and then the Giants to lead the Wild Card. I remember all the near-misses and frustration as we simply could not catch Atlanta in August. We won, they won; they lost, we lost.

    I remember that beautiful road trip as our guys blasted through the Padres, the Dodgers, and one wild and crazy night in Coors Field. I remember the jubiliation one perfect night in September as the Phillies finally returned to first place.

    We had a torrid and epic September, in which our team once again proved that September, at least, was still owned by them.

    It’s been one wild season and I will never forget it, whether it ends tonight or not.

    Phils in seven.

  11. Wis

    October 21, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Good piece, also Kate did a great job summing it all up. What a remarkable achievement this season has been. I had dinner with my manager last night who is a 50 year reds fan and his father a 70+ year reds fan. He could see how this game was destroying me emotionally. Didnt help that we are in vegas where i am outnumbered 3-1 to the gina fans…He looked at me and said “you Philly fans are never satisfied.” and said “my father always said you could bring philly fans a cure for cancer and they would boo.” I had to laugh, thinking he didn’t understand, even though he was in this same spot emotionally 2 weeks ago…I am proud to be a Philly fan even though I am a transplant to central PA, and a late comer. I got into this team last year as a way to bond with my Son who is 10. I was a baseball phanatic until I was 13 and then became addicted to drugs and alcohol. I couldn’t do both, lol. I’ve seen heartache and I’ve seen redemption.

    Bottom line is that this team and baseball has ment so much to me and my family. The position we are at now is a difficult one, but just think of the possibility we have in front of us! To come back and win this is our destiny. We just gotta put on our gloves, smack our hand in it and take that walk…

  12. Phillistein

    October 21, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Phil,

    DesiBrave is a troll from the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Braves blog. They are rather gleeful there over how the Giants are series has gone.

    I believe the term is “schadenfreude”.

  13. Adam

    October 21, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Lets not start planning the funeral for this team yet. The best pitcher on the planet is pitching for the Phillies tonight and I can only imagine he is like an angry Lion right now. Lets just think about a few things. Everything has gone right for the Giants. I mean literally everything. Playing game three in the freaking shadows, Bruce Boche has not made a lineup change that has not worked masterfully. Seemingly every third strike call against Phillies batters is borderline at best.

    I realize the Phillies have to beat Lincecum, Sanchez and Cain but in the same breath the Giants have to run through H2O again. This series has been a series where the Phillies lost instead of the Giants winning. This team has to much heart not to bring it back to Philadelphia. Once it gets back there, look out. Remember the Giants are young and inexperienced. I will take my chances to win three games in a row with H2O on the mound.

    It has been a wonderful season, but it is not over yet…not by a long shot. Common people.

  14. Phillistein

    October 21, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Kate – I think you speak for a lot of us.

    It’s certainly not over – by a long shot.

    A little head scratching on the phan’s part as the Phils are playing like knuckleheads in some respects.

    But, regardless of what happens – they’re OUR knuckleheads. And so far it’s been quite a memorable season.

    Phils in 7

  15. Morris Buttermaker

    October 21, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Is this Philliesnation.com or BuffaloBillsnation.com?

  16. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

    A rousing rendition of High Hopes?

    I honestly do believe we wake up tonight, but that doesn’t take anything away from the beauty of this piece. It’d be easy to wait until after tonight to write up such a lovely tribute. In the middle of uncertainty is where true thoughtfulness shines its brightest light.

    I’ve been on Michael before about his penchant for the numbers and it’s only fair to give him a tip of the hat for a beautiful, thoughtful piece when many of those who live and die by the numbers wouldn’t necessarily be looking at the human element at this point.

  17. Desibrave

    October 21, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Morris Buttermaker, I totally agree with you. You speak like a true Phillies fan. You are absolutely right that the phillies team is playing way below their potential, RAJ did a tremendous job by spendning close to 160million+ this year and lured every great pitcher available out there and tried to hellp this team and looking at the game last night was pathetic.

    Anyone who says he is happy with the phillies season this year have the same mindset of a Braves fan between 1990 through 2005.

  18. Bart Shart

    October 21, 2010 at 10:01 am

    As I sit looking at my decimated fingernails after last night’s game, I cannot help but believe that destiny has yet to smile on us. We have won three straight multiple times. It rests on the shoulders of Big Roy Halladay and yes, our limping offense. Roy will pitch a good game. Our offense may come to the rescue tonight. And we will make this a two game series back in Philly. WE CAN DO IT. I just hope we will. And if we do, then this may be the greatest post-season victory in Phillies’ history. History may be in the making. And Destiny may be brushing her teeth this morning waiting to smile on Philadelphia. GO PHILS

  19. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Wow, and I thought Desibrave was all right. Looks like Desibrave joins Bravoturd in the troll category.

  20. boxage

    October 21, 2010 at 10:25 am

    we got this one. the phillies don’t quit

  21. branderson

    October 21, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I sort of appreciate what you did here. But likening the Phillies to something like Battlestar Galaticca is something I could never stomach. That is just ridiculous. The Phils are ingrained in my daily lifestyle they aren’t some piece of fantasy on the big screen. This is real life, real players, real heart.

    I’m not trying to sh!t on you man, but c’mon. The Phils are tradition. They’re the memory of me at my first game in 96 at the Vet with my pops. They’re the feeling of being with your best friends at the games, at your buddy’s place watching the game, or even being far from home (Boston) and still having that warm feeling inside knowing your united.

    I know this wasn’t worded the best but I will never give up hope. I know this is do-able. Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, who else would you want up there for you!? Honestly. They’re not going down without a fight, I promise you that.

  22. bfo_33

    October 21, 2010 at 10:31 am

    There is a world of difference between playing below your potential and giving up. Last night was frustrating at times (as were all 3 losses), but I have never doubted, even once, the desire or the effort of the Phils. This team makes the Knight in the Holy Grail look like a quitter. By the way, the Bills were 0-4 in super bowls.

    If you want a predictable, happy ending every time, maybe you are better suited to watching sitcoms. Baseball is as much about the journey as the destination, and saying this season has been a long, strange trip would be an incredible understatement.

    By the way Michael, your best piece yet. While I am incapable of crying over sports (may have shed a few tears over Joe Carter) it certainly has been an emotional roller coaster, and it isn’t over yet.

  23. Bart Shart

    October 21, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Desibrave needs to take a nice warm salt-water enima. And he needs to just go away. Pain in the ass.

  24. Phil

    October 21, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Just a reminder: In 2007 the Boston Red Sox were down to an inferior(but potent pitching staffed) Cleveland Indians. They came back and won the series. What did they do next? They carried their momentum into the WS and swept the Rockies who were the hottest team in baseball at the time.

  25. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 10:49 am

    @Branderson: You’ve obviously never watched Battlestar Galactica. Your loss.

  26. Manny

    October 21, 2010 at 10:50 am

    “the most heart-wrenching loss I’ve suffered as a Phillies fan.”

    You’re not alone.

  27. branderson

    October 21, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Sorry Kate, I haven’t.

    Excuse me for finding it odd to relate something magical like the Phils to a nerdy sci-fi series

  28. Desibrave

    October 21, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Well looks llike you have not understood what i was saying.., Giants is just an ordinary team, i was hoping for Phillies to beat the crap out of them.

    Braves lost the Series against Giants 3-1 but alll the 4 games were 1 run games, Braves infact led the last two games in the 8th and 7th innings but due to WORST Defense ever in an NLDS series by Brooks Conrad helped Giants to scrape through.

    Everyone on this blog would have believed that Braves are no match to Phillies , so why are the phillies performing so bad against the Giants who just managed to beat the braves due to braves lack of defense?

    I want the Phillies to play to their true potential and guys like Utley, Werth , Ibanez should dust off their cobwebs and start hitting better, They can do lot better than what they are doing right now,

    Phillies have 3 great pitchers going in the next 3 games and now the hitters should perform, Giants are just an ordinary team with good pitching, look at their batting lineup, not a single decent bat but for that Posey kid..,

    I want them perform like they do against braves..,

    If braves didn’t lose Wagner, Chipper, Medlen, Prado and Jurgens , Braves would be much better defensively and this NLCS would have been Phillis vs Braves affair,

    Looking forward to a phillies win the next 3 games., anything less than that is unacceptable.., Giants are just an ordinary team and should have been treated like Reds ..,

  29. Chuck

    October 21, 2010 at 11:13 am

    What the f*ck is THAT supposed to mean??……”BuffaloBillsnation.com”??

    And just where the hell were you, Morris, when the Phils were 48-46 and 7 games out of first??

    Give me a break.

    Bandwagoners flip-flopping all the time really piss me off!!

  30. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 11:22 am

    @Branderson: If you’d take five minutes and check out some info on the series, the most recent series, you’d realize that it’s a military/political drama that just happens to be set in space. There’s little to no real sci-fi in it.

  31. Chuck

    October 21, 2010 at 11:36 am

    “There must be some way out of here….”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1__dINxiXU&feature=related

    Doc will lead the way.

    PHILS IN 7!!!!!!!

  32. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 11:44 am

    @Chuck: Biggest epic clusterf*ck ever.

    Until the finale, anyway.

    The Doctor is preparing to perform a lobotomy. He will not be denied.

  33. The Dipsy

    October 21, 2010 at 11:49 am

    The Dipsy’s worse losses ever:

    1. Dodgers over Phillies in 1977 playoff game where they WOULD NOT STOP THE GAME despite torrential rains. A travesty.
    2. Tampa Bay over Eagles in 2003 NFC Championship;
    3. The Fog Bowl
    4. Russia’s shanghai’d victory over USA in 1972 Olympic Basketball Finals;
    5. Last night.

    The Dipsy

  34. jeff

    October 21, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Your going to see a very focused Doc tonight. If we can someway take this game and go home. I would love our chances in Philly. Just get us there.

    Things in this series that still confuse me. Blanton starting. Charlie made this mistake with Lee last year. You put Pedro and Blanton in the biggest spots and they both come up empty. Blanton has not pitched in a month. Are you kidding me. Also why not bunt Jimmy to move Werth over last night. Shocked me. Utley has his head up his butt. Also why not put our lefty in against Huff. Leave Joe in to long. I also learned that Posey is the real deal. Will be the best catcher in baseball. Kid can play.

  35. Phillistein

    October 21, 2010 at 11:56 am

    By the way:

    I think Chad Durbin deserves at least an honorable mention for the Steve Jeltz award.

    And…………is anyone warming up to the idea of Bennie Frisco taking over for Werth’s slot next year?

    Have Raul and Ben do a righty-lefty platoon in left, and install D-Brown in right.

    I know, I know – that’s next year and who wants to think about next year when we have such an important game tonight. (Just trying to take my mind off last night’s game.)

    J-Roll
    Polanco
    Utley
    Howard
    D-Brown
    Raul (R) Ben (L)
    Vic
    Chooch
    Pitcher

    (Just thinking out loud)

  36. Desibrave

    October 21, 2010 at 11:57 am

    In my opinion the Worst Manager ever award goes to Bobby Cox and the second worst manager ever award goes to the old guy Charlie Manuel. What the heck was he doing last night taking out Blanton after 63 pitches? we know blanton started off bad in the firs two innings but he was dealing after that..,

  37. Morris Buttermaker

    October 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Some of the comments on here sound like stuff you would expect from Buffalo Bills fans. “What a great year” “It’s been a great ride.”

    You’re proud of these guys? For underperforming all year? Who cares where the team was on July 21st. With the talent on this team, they should have been in first place all year. They are underperforming. They believe their own hype. They have no spark to them. They do not play hard and/or smart. (For example, how does Victorino not advance to second on the throw when Ruiz was thrown out at home?) They do not make the most of the oppositions mistakes. Simply put- They have no marbles.

  38. bostonkate

    October 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Tonight’s gonna be a hard liquor kind of night, that’s for sure.

    I woke up feeling optimistic, surpisingly enough, considering how emotional and pissed off I was last night. I was talking to a friend in Boston last night who told me he couldn’t believe I was so upset over a baseball team. Like it or not, this team is a part of me, they’re in my blood. They cause my emotions to run wild. As frustrated as I am, I’m still optimistic. Some of my best childhood memories are at the Vet, which I consider one of the best ballparks. I grew up surrounded by baseball and sports. When my team’s upset, I’m upset. When they’re down, I’m down. When they’re happy, I’m beaming like a fat kid getting some cake.

    Following this team is an emotional roller coaster ride. But its a fun one nonetheless. This team has won 3 in a row before (see: nlds). IT IS POSSIBLE. Even if it doesn’t happen, it’s been one hell of a year and it’s a team we can all be proud of.

    Phils in 7

  39. Phillistein

    October 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Dipsy!

    Honorable mention to “worst losses ever”

    * 7th Fleet vs. Germans at Pearl Harbor
    * Ulysses S Grant vs. British at Battle of Brandywine
    * Goode Adminsitration vs. Move
    * Move vs. Goode Administration
    * Last 2 minutes of Super Bowl XXXIX (Will you please just RUN A FREAKIN PLAY!!!!!!)
    * The Phold (any of the last 12 games of the 1964 season.

  40. Bruce

    October 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Nice summary piece by Michael and Kate too. BTW Kate, if Battlestar Galactica series has space ship fighters,etc and “space”, it’s classified as science fiction regardless of script and dialogue (chuckles).

    Just wondering if somehow the Phillies can get by Lincecum and Giants (a team of destiny?), would Oswalt still have his start despite pitching in relief last night?

  41. Chuck

    October 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Yes, I’m proud of these guys.

    48-46 on July 21, 7 games out of 1st.

    Playing with injury after countless injury, DL trip after DL trip.

    How the hell can you be in first place all year when your ENTIRE opening day lineup minus two guys spends time on the DL?? Plus pitchers and bench players, too. How can they have swagger when Dane Sardinha (4th on the depth chart) is your starting catcher!! And, that’s not taking anything away from Dane Sardinha. But give me a freaking break!!

  42. bfo_33

    October 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Phillistein, hope you aren’t a history major. I can’t imagine a loss being any more devastating than game 6, 93 series, although the fog bowl comes close.

  43. Scotch Man

    October 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    I have never had a game suck the life out of me like last night. I felt absolutely beat up. I woke up this morning and felt awful. Every emotion I could feel in a ballgame was felt to an extreme last night. If I needed any proof about how much I care about the Phillies, it was realized last night. I said before this series started, there is no way a team with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt can lose. Apparantly there is a way and the backs are against the wall.

    Regardless, you can’t look at this as a series anymore. You have to look at it that there is a game tonight and they must win it. Just deal with tonight. Screw putting together a plan. If we can send this series back home, we have a shot.

  44. Desibrave

    October 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    There goes the Chuck guy with his DL CRAP STORY.., if at all anyone needs to complain about Injuries it should be Braves and they are no complaining and inspite of losing the games with his defensive errors Brooks Conrad got a standing ovation by the fans at TED..,

  45. The Dipsy

    October 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    The Fog Bowl was Randall’s shot. We were gonna win that game and then win the Super Bowl. The fog rolled in and then the absolutely horrifying calls and non calls by the refs. Uneffinreal. I still die a little everytime I think of that game. The 1993 Series was a little different. It hurt. But honestly, I don’t think anybody ever felt that we really belonged there anyway. The players were not lovable or likable, save for Kruk and maybe a few others. Schilling was a jerk @ff. True pain comes with the expectation of greatness and then to have it snuffed out. That year the Eagles had a sick defense and Starship 12 at the helm. My apologies for moving into Eagles territory.

    The Dipsy

  46. Phillistein

    October 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Actually bfo

    The game from that series that sticks out in my mind as much as game 6 was game 4.

    Giving up 6 runs in the 8th to lose 15-14 will forever haunt me.

    Did you hear Votto during the playoffs, after Williams picked the Phillies on MLB TV? He said that he had grown up in Toronto and Williams had provided him with his biggest sports thrill as a kid by blowing that series.

    Ouch

  47. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    @Bruce: Don’t talk down to me. Have you ever even heard of the series? Watched any of it? Then you know absolutely nothing about what kind of show it really was. Star Trek is (good) sci-fi. Star Wars is (good) sci-fi/fantasy. Battlestar is a gritty military/political/humanistic drama and its first two seasons were among the best television I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen The West Wing, Seinfeld, and Roseanne in their heydays. Save your chuckles for a subject you’re not so painfully clueless about.

    @Morris Buttermaker: You must be one of those people who consider anything less than a World Series win a failed effort of a season. Go root for the Yankees and their twenty-seven championships. I appreciate the effort and the fight of our guys. I appreciate the fact that Manuel led a bunch of utility players and back-ups straight back into play-off contention this year. Look what happened to the Mets when they started going down with injuries. Look what happened to the Braves. You just don’t get what makes this 2010 squad so special.

  48. Desibrave

    October 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Kate,
    So winning wcs is not that imp to you? Interesting.., I was given a real hard time earlier on this blog that Braves won only 1 WCS in 15 trips to PS.., and look who is talking now?

    Looks like in your opinion we shoudl be proud of Braves unprecendented Divsion wins from 1990 to 2005. , Cool then…

  49. Phil

    October 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Kate, you are awesome.

  50. Chuck

    October 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    DL CRAP STORY

    HaHaHaHaHaHa

    DesiBrave, you obviously don’t know that much about baseball if you’re gonna discount the effect of almost the entire starting lineup spending time (some of it extended) on the DL. What…the Phillies played maybe 10-15 games this year with that opening day lineup??

    And I really don’t give a sh!t about the Braves and their useless fanbase that consists of you and maybe 10 other people. Good for them that they made it to the playoffs and gave Bobby C@cks a last hurrah. I said at the beginning of the season that they would be a playoff team this year and I was right.

    And Brooks Conrad?? Seriously, you’re gonna bring THAT up? I feel bad for the dude. I really do. He was out of his comfort zone and can’t be totally blamed for the reason why the Braves didn’t advance.

  51. bfo_33

    October 21, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Game 6 had the finality, game 4 was exhausting, but agree both were very tough. I think I was too emotional spent after game 4 to be upset.

    Dipsy, I thought the 93 Phils epitomized Philly – no expectations, somehow rise to seem invincible, then the fail. It probably adds to their lore that they lost. Maybe their future actions have hazed over feelings at the time, but American’s Most Wanted beating America’s team (for me) was even better than the 80 World Series.

    Ingcavalia, who had almost as many RBIs that year as hits (I think he had 90 hits, 88 RBIs). Eisenrich, the epileptic who beat all the odds to make it to the majors, the kid and the old man (Stocker & Duncan) at short, Danny Jackson ripping off his shirt, Dutch, the all-american boy (before he started seeing space ships,…), Nails, Kruk, Wild Thing, Glanville, schilling (before he new everything). In hind sight, most of the guys turned out to be steroid fueled jerks, but at the time, they were the most entertaining group of guys on the planet. Too bad reality TV was around.

    The Fog Bowl is something that only happens to the Eagles. Their typical mode was wear the opposing D down the first half, take advantage in the second. All seemed to be going to plan when the fog came in. Losing to the Raiders (the first time a WC won the Super Bowl) was tough, but at the time, we all thought they’d be back the next year.

  52. Chuck

    October 21, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    You mean Curt Schilling didn’t ALWAYS know everything?

  53. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Desibrave, you sure as hell SHOULD be proud of the Braves. They kept a stranglehold on the NL East for fifteen years. If I was a Braves fan, I’d be proud of that. If I was a Braves fan, I’d be proud of them for holding on to make the playoffs this year.

    I know you guys take a lot of guff for the ratio of playoffs to championships and World Series titles, but I’m not one of the people dishing out that particular brand of asshattery.

    You SHOULD be proud of your Braves and their history.

    Just like I’m busting with pride over our guys and all the adversity they overcame this season. I was proud as all hell last year and that pride didn’t diminish because they didn’t win the World Series. Hell, I was proud in 2007 when they went three-up, three-down in the division series, because they FINALLY got back to the post-season.

  54. Desibrave

    October 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Chuck, then you have no idea what you are talking about ?

    Brooks Conrad single handedly lost that game 3 for the braves and we had to remove him for game 4 and start Glaus at 3B inspite of Giants kept bunting to 3rd every at bat. still it was 1run game.

    I was sitting in the Right field area and there were 54,000+ Fans (not 10 you fool..,) BOOING at him for his 4 errors he made in that game and he couldn’t even bunt.,
    I felt sorry for Brooks and we made ammends the next day cheering for him when he came in to pinch hit,

    and mind you, you kept winning because of Oswalt and Halladay and a resurgent Hamels and not because of your useless starting lineup.., Oswalt took more than 15 days before agreeing to sign with phillies as he was not so sure about your so called starting lineup.,

    Not sure what you are whining at but your bench actually played much better than your starting lineup.., Valdez guy was much better than Jimmy Rollins, Ben Franscisco played tons better than Ibanez, and that back catcher sardina whatever his name was won a few games for you with his bat, You should probably play your bench and hopefully you will do better against the Giants.

  55. Desibrave

    October 21, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Kate, I love you for those words 🙂 I said the same thing since day 1 on this blog.. I kept saying that I am so happy braves are in contention this year inspite of a mediocre lineup,

    I think my mission here is slowly getting accomplished, Trying to unearth Braves appreciaters on this Blog and they are revealing themselves slowly.
    and there is nothing wrong in it. Any true baseball fan appreciates honest efforts by other teams.., I did appreciate Phillies for the way they beat the crap out of the REDS..

    but I am totallly mad at phillies right now for losing 3 games to the mediocre Giants.,

    Like that Kruk guy said on ESPN, Phillies should play like they are the favorites to win WCS .., Hopefully they do that tonight and the next 2 games…

  56. Bruce

    October 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Kate, I’ll ignore your rude response. You made it perfectly clear of your love for that Science Fiction show (smile). It’s true I have never seen it. However, when I read the title, I went to this website for info.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlestar_Galactica …and sure enough as suspected, it’s classified as Science Fiction. That was my only disagreement with you..not the quality or premise of the TV series. OK?

  57. Desibrave

    October 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Kate is my best friend on this BLOG.., Go Kate!!

  58. The Dipsy

    October 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Kate, the mere fact that you love Battlestar Gallactica, and will defend publicly in a blog, makes me love you, too. Are we talking the old BG or new BG? Did you live “Inception”, Kate?

    The Dipsy

  59. Lefty

    October 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Very nice article Michael. The emptiness of the end is brutal. Emotional investment can be exhilarating, or the other side, extremely difficult. But there has to be a winner, a loser, and yes, an end. It’s the end that hurts me most, almost more than the losing.

    At the risk of being repetitive, I want to repost something from last night. I hope you good folks don’t mind but I fear this may have been lost in the shuffle of 756 emotional comments.
    —————————————————————————————-
    Question: How hard is it to win three straight NL Pennants?

    Answer: Since no one has done it since 1944, it is very f’n hard.

    We can talk game mismanagement, lack of offense, big three not coming through, bullpen sucks, contracts, etc.etc.etc. but the fact is-

    Winning three straight pennants is almost impossible and WE STILL have a slim chance of doing it. I’m really proud to be a fan of this team, and I’m proud of the team. But sometimes you just have to live with the other team beating you, that’s baseball.

    Great posts as usual today folks, I agree with your sentiments,and enjoy reading them. And Michael- I “have a comforting hand” ready to put on anyone’s “proverbial” shoulder, if and when needed.
    –But not tonight- Phils in 7- Ya gotta believe!

  60. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Ah, so Bruce HASN’T got a clue of what he’s trying to discuss. I figured as much. Like you, I was not arguing the quality or premise of the series. I was arguing the erroneous assumption you were making out of pure ignorance. Don’t worry, though. Lots of people make that same mistake. Ignore me as much as you want and call me rude if you’d like. But, in this case, I know more than you.

    Desibrave, I can appreciate what the Braves have done while still hating their guts. I caught a snippet of that Brooks Conrad interview after that horrifying game and my heart went out to him. He seemed so genuinely remorseful and upset. For a moment, I wished I knew him so I could give him a hug. Poor guy.

    @The Dipsy: Can’t argue with quality. I liked the old one, but it’s the new one I’d be willing to look the fool to defend. Unfortunately, I have not gotten to see Inception and am hoping to pick it up when it comes out on DVD.

  61. steve

    October 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I am channeling my inner bro and quoting Kevin Millar…You better win tonight, timmy. Because if you don’t, you guys have to get on a plane and face Oswalt on Saturday in a park where he has never lost in front of 45,000 crazy people. And after that is game 7….Matt Cain vs Cole Hamels at CBP? Anything can happen.

    Phils in 7.

  62. jeff of Nova

    October 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Just cause I have to….. The Braves did not win 15 straight NL East titles. I think it was 11 The Braves were in the West when they started the winning your division streak, which is impressive in its own right.

    Braves fans should be proud of that, but when it was going on the Braves fans certainly were not proud of that they wanted more like most die hard fans. I am proud of the Phillies, but I am not going to talk about it now, I want a win another WCS! and WFC!

    Years from now I will truly appreciate all of this and be overly proud to be a part of it all.

    We stilll have work to do

    Roy is going to put us back in the fold tonight!! One game at a time!

  63. Morris Buttermaker

    October 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Every team in the league has injuries. And it was the back-up players that carried the Phillies most of the year. Utley, Rollins, Ibanez and Werth all had disappointing seasons when they were not injured.

    I don’t expect a World Series every year. But I expect an honest effort each game. And the Phillies are not doing that right now. They’re playing like crap. They have the body language of losers. Utley looked like he was going to cry last night.

    I enjoyed last season’s run by the Flyers because they were giving 110% and pulled off some amazing upsets and great games. They also dealt with a lot of injuries. In the end, they lost to a team that was a hell of a lot better than them. Can you honestly say that the Giants are that much better than the Phillies. The Giants are doing what they need to do win games- 2-out hits, sac flies/ bunts, smart baserunning. All things the Phillies are not doing.

  64. Chuck

    October 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Wow….not sure where to start…

    Ok..

    First…DesiBrave…NO ONE…not even Brooks Conrad SINGLE_HANDEDLY loses a baseball game. It’s a TEAM sport. All those involved have a hand in the success or failure of the game.

    Second…DesiBrave…54,000 fans. Good. Wonderful. For just how many games? Bobby Cox said himself that it was like 5 or so. When you guys sell out 130+ in a row….then we’ll talk about that.

    Third….DesiBrave (notice a common thread here)….”useless starting lineup”?? You mean the one that was injured or the utility guys like Wilson Valdez that came in and played their hearts out?? Roy Oswalt’s indecision had ZERO to do with the lineup of the Phillies. It was more to do with his contract and geograhical location. Do your homework first, pal.

    Fourth…..DesiBrave…..continuation of the lineup issue: Valdez better than Rollins? You mean the Jimmy Rollins that was hurt for most of the year? Valdez sure as hell was better a lot of the time….BECAUSE HE WAS FULLY HEALTHY.

    Fifth…..DesiBrave…..further continuation of the lineup issue: Ben Francisco better than Raul Ibanez?? You mean the Raul that basically CARRIED the Phillies offensively in the second half? Just checking.

    Sixth….DesiBrave….I am not “whining” at anything. I am VERY proud of this Phillies team….win or lose this thing. And you should be proud of your Braves for doing what they did as well. Like I said earlier…I picked them to be a playoff team and was not surprised at all that they did as well as they did. You don’t need some kind of “mission” to convince ME of that.

    And, finally, seventh…..KATE….”asshattery” Word. Of. The. Day.

    PHILS IN 7!!!!!!!

  65. Desibrave

    October 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Chuck,
    Looks like you have not watched the game where Conrad made those 4 errors,, Poor guy he admitted it himself and thats his greatness and he is a hero for Braves fans and we paid the tribute with 54,000+ fans giving him a standing ovation,

    And if the so called Rollins, Utley, Ibanez were so great why the heck are they not doing squat against Giants?

    I WANT THE PHILLIES BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF THE GIANTS …,

    I hate seeing that Cody Ross, Huff , Uribe etc celebrating .., and that Lincecum guy who looks more like a girl, and that Wilson guy and his crappy Beard..,

    I want another shutout by Halladay today., and want every phillies batter to get a hit against Lincecum..,

  66. Bob

    October 21, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Just bring this series home.

    This kind of has the same feel as Flyers-Bruins. The Bruins jumped out 3-0 by earning the bounces and winning 3 very close games. That series was never a blowout, even with the Flyers in the 0-3 hole.

    Look how that turned out.

    Fast forward to now:

    Game 1: Giants scrap out 4-3
    Game 3: Giants scrap out 3-0 win with great pitching and assist from Phils in the field
    Game 4: One of the better ballgames you will see. Back and forth, Giants got the knockout shot with a sac fly.

    Very close ballgames, by a HAIR.

    And some don’t think the Phillies can scratch out 3 wins? DO THEY WATCH BASEBALL?

    You have to tip your hat to the Giants, they have been the better team through 4 games. But we have 3 pitchers that I’ll go to battle with any day and the best in the game is on the hill in Halladay tonight.

    1 at a time….cliche, but so true.

  67. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Oh, we’ve definitely been outplayed for the most part in this series.

    Difference is, they’re playing at their best and we’re not.

  68. biz

    October 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    The Phillies CAN win this series. Will they? Will Utley show up? The real Utley, not the guy who looks just like him but can’t hit or field. Can Jimmy leave the bat on his shoulder for the 1st pitch every AB? Could Victorino steal a base to avoid a double play? No excuse not to send the fastest guy on the team EVERY time he’s on base. Someone needs to explain that 7th inning nonsense last night to me.

    We need a CGSO from Doc. That’s what it boils down to.

  69. Chuck

    October 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I have no explanation as to why Rollins, Utley and Ibanez aren’t doing much against the Giants. ( Actually, Rollins had a big game in Game 2) That’s baseball. Sh!t happens. Sometimes good players fail to produce at the right time and sometimes average players rise to the occasion.

    PHILS IN 7!!!!!!!

  70. Phil

    October 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Wait, when did Werth have a down year this year?

  71. biz

    October 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Phil,

    Werth had a down year. Sub .200 w/RISP from a 5-hole hitter is pathetic.

  72. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    “GET UP, YOU BUMS! I DIDN’T HEAR NO BELL!”

  73. Phan in the outfield

    October 21, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Kate & Chuck – you rock. Loved your posts, collectively, all of them.

    Michael Baumann – well written, well said. Not sure how you got this coherently put together. I had a hard time sleeping. Speaking this morning wasn’t easy. Then again I’m in a completely unsympathetic nyc, suffering some nasty shots from Mets fans. Of course I shot back. Told them it’s easy to laugh when your team’s been golfing for 3 wks (or maybe they were golfing when they were meant to be playing baseball – how would I know …). I also suggested they should head to ShitiField & apply for the now open managerial position. Finally….sweet silence.

    I admit to having problems today keeping my emotions ‘up’. That loss was tough. I felt like the summer was really difficult, but the result was well-earned on everyone’s part. They all contributed individually. Having gone through that, I feel like they DESERVE to win the NLCS. But I also have an overpowering feeling that the baseball gods aren’t with us. Of course they can win, they’re good enough. They have the character for it. I just don’t know if they have the stamina left after all they’ve been through this yr. Utley, Howard, Rollins, Polanco, Moyer, they’re all still injured. Hey, these guys have shocked me before. That’s part of why I love them.

    biz – Please stop. Look at the larger picture. I can’t believe after all Werth has contributed this yr that you’re still on this RISP idiocy. Everyone agrees his RISP number is bad. No argument. But he’s contributed so much beyond that, that the discussion is really almost moot. This discussion has become, in point of fact, obsessive. He’s the one who TIED THE GAME LAST NIGHT.

  74. biz

    October 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Phan,

    He still was brutal all year in that position. Someone asked what was wrong with him this year. I replied. Should I pretend he didn’t hit .182 w/RISP?

    That’s not the problem now though. The problem is that the only one who showed up for the NLCS was Howard. Reminds me of last season in the WS when it was Utley that showed up.

    This team needs some new blood.

  75. Chuck

    October 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    And it gets it next season with D. Brown.

  76. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    October 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Roy Halladay: “I know what I have to do”. GoDoc

  77. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Gosh, I just had a Drago flash. And I know damn well Drago never said, “I know what I have to do.”

  78. biz

    October 21, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Doc said that? SF is in trouble.

    I hope we can manage a few runs off of Timmy.

  79. Desibrave

    October 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Jay, Good to hear that from Doc but I would be more happier if i heard that from the Utleys , Ibanezs and Werths of the world.., We all know what Doc who has 53 CGs since 2003 can do..,

  80. Bruce

    October 21, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Hey Kate, you may be able to see reruns of your beloved Battlestar Galactica on TV’s Sci-Fi channel since they carried the series in the past (smile).

  81. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    @Desi: You’d think it’d feel better coming from everyone, but they all know what’s at stake. They may not have been exactly here before, but they were all saying in July how they’d be right where they had to be and coming from some of them, it sounded like, “Get off our backs.”

    They know damn well what they have to do tonight. And they’ll do it and come home to fight another day in front of 45,000+ crazy fans.

  82. Phan in the outfield

    October 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    biz: The only “brutal” thing this summer was the lack of respect Werth’s other numbers got & the treatment he received at the keyboards of sports writers & bloggers. Ref: http://crashburnalley.com/2010/07/20/the-werth-hate-fest-continues/

    Nobody asked you to “pretend” his RISP was better. I’m asking you to stop obsessing about his RISP alone. SO MUCH went wrong this yr that for you and so many others to focus such a large amount of energy and attention on that alone boggles the mind. Move on. You’ll get what you want soon enough. A really good player, who loved playing here, and said so, will go somewhere else and wear another uniform. I wonder if you’ll focus as much attention on how the Phillies biggest investment ($125mil investment to be specific) fares w/o Werth behind him to take the flack? It’ll be an interesting summer.

    Finally, I can’t believe you think “the only one who showed up for the NLCS was Howard.” Wow, that’s stupifying. Howard hasn’t done much. And frankly for $19 mil/yr, he should’ve produced a helluva lot more. Sorry I don’t have more time to discuss b/c I’m stuck at work.

    I don’t care who comes through tonight – I just love the Phillies & want someone wearing red & white to come through. I want them to WIN. If they don’t, then pls let it be mercifully fast. My heart can’t take another game like last night.

  83. Kate

    October 21, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    @Phan: I know it really seems like Howard hasn’t done much, but he’s been more consistently productive than everyone else in this series. Some of the others stepped it up a notch last night, but it’s been mostly Howard singling and doubling, striking out, and drawing a few walks.

  84. karen

    October 21, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    this was a painful game. we never continued to have the lead and momentum and the bad feeling was there for the entire group

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