Opinion

Cherish This Weekend

9 games out of the playoffs with 3 games to play before the trade deadline. A sweep this weekend pulls the Phillies within 6 and in legitimate playoff contention. 2-1 puts them at 8 out, 1-2 at 10 out, and getting swept puts them 11 games out at the trade deadline and firmly in sell mode.

Cherish this weekend – it may be the last time you see the Phillies as you know them.

A sweep of the Braves is the only way to reasonably expect to see the team, as it is constructed today, and as we have known them for the last few years end the season in tact. A sweep all but guarantees Cliff Lee, linked to the Rangers and Dodgers, and Jimmy Rollins, linked to the Dodgers and A’s, stay, and increases the likelihood Phillies fans see at least two more months of Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton. Anything but a sweep of Atlanta begins to collapse the last vestiges of the 2008 World Series championship team.

Whether right or wrong, retool or not retool, 2008 is increasingly disappearing from the rear-view mirror. As a journalist and an analyst, my mind is telling them to move on, to trade anything that isn’t nailed down and retool for 2013. The fan in me? I don’t want to leave 2008. The four straight walk of victories have the mark of the 2007 and 2008 Phillies. My hopes are high and I’m thinking of 7 back with 17 to play in 2007 or the Cardinals being 9.5 out late last year. But I know that bubble, and pipe dream, could be popped with as little as two, or possibly even one, loss this weekend.

This may be the closest the Phillies get to playoff baseball this year and as for tonight? I can’t wait to see Chase Utley go one-on-one with Ben Sheets, Ryan Howard take him deep to right, Rollins steal some bases, Victorino rob hits on defense, Chooch defend the plate, and Cole Hamels pitch the game of his life. They’re 9 out and it’s 2012, but I’m feeling nostalgic for 2008. With a roll of the dice the weekend, 2008 could be all but a memory. Then again, an improbable sweep could make it last two months longer. Phillies fans – make sure to cherish this weekend.

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0 Comments

  1. Brain

    July 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I have a good feeling theyll take 2 of 3 if not sweep. The chemistry has been there, the bull pen, minus Bastardo has been solid with Kendrick anchoring it, and with Hamels and *hopeully* old Halladay taking trhe mound in two of the three, theres no reason to expect to anything less

  2. Manny

    July 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    HUGE weekend, indeed. GO PHILS!!!!!!!

  3. Dave P

    July 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Nice to see a positive article. Nothing wrong with cautious optimism.

  4. Rotcod

    July 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    These are my feelings as well. It’s nice to read an article and comments that aren’t so bipolar too. I am a Phillies fan – unconditionally. I’m even cool with whatever Ruben Amaro does. He has earned it, in my humble opinion. It’s hard to decide. I see some advantage to selling to fix what has been lacking, but I don’t want to break up the band either, if you will.

  5. Stuart

    July 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I would highly doubt Lee is going to be traded. I have seen in numerous locations the Phillies have said he is not available.

  6. Lefty

    July 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Good stuff Riccaboni. I share many of your thoughts about moving on, knowing that 2008 is gone, etc.

    IMO- If they sweep, get swept, or anything in between, the analytical approach is the best way to go. Still, like a child full of wonder, I can’t wait for first pitch.

    • Ian Riccaboni

      July 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      Appreciate it, Lefty. Never expected the juggernaut to boil down to one weekend. Then again, I did not expect to be this excited 9 games out over a game on July 27 .

      • Lefty

        July 27, 2012 at 7:45 pm

        It’s interesting to note that no matter how many times they seemingly “jilt their lovers”, we always come back. We’re addicted I guess!

  7. EricL

    July 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Is it wrong to hope that the Phillies lose so that Ruben doesn’t do the wrong thing and try to buy at the deadline?

    • Lefty

      July 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      Yes, but only because you should not have to feel that way. RA Jr. has built this distrust in many of us.

  8. brooks

    July 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Lets not get the hopes up too high. A sweep of the Braves away is next to impossible to believe in.

    But damn Ian, you make me want to break out the videos of 2008!

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