This week we’re asking writers at Phillies Nation to give us their new year’s resolutions for 2017. First, Michael Sadowski.
Don’t bother sugar-coating this: It’s hard being a Phillies fan right now.
A lot of it is bad baseball at its worst. Watching guys get mired in 0-2 counts like they actually enjoy it. Seeing pitchers trot out to the mound seemingly without anything resembling a plan of how to attack hitters. Swings at pitches in the dirt. Guys who we all know have no business playing major league baseball getting 250 at-bats or 50 innings pitched.
But most of all, it’s the waiting. We know there is promise. We know there is a plan. We know there is a pipeline of exciting talent peppered through the minor league system just waiting for the call to South Philly to turn the Phillies into a winner again. We just have to wait for it.
We can’t fast forward to 2020, and at the same time, we can’t turn our backs on the 2017, ’18, ’19 seasons. We’re fans, after all. Whether it borders on pure addiction (guilty as charged) or out of a sense of loyalty, we don’t stop turning on games on a nightly basis and we don’t stop handing over hard-earned money to watch these players who might not even be here when the Phillies are relevant again.
And we don’t stop cheering.
It’s not easy. We question our sanity at times for re-arranging our daily schedules to make sure we can watch a meaningless Saturday afternoon game against the Marlins in September or wonder why we’re still up watching the Phils at 1 a.m. on a Wednesday in August with the Giants winning 12-1 in the top of the ninth and the Phils 20 games out of the wild card.
We have the feeling that someday it’s all going to be worth it, but that day isn’t today. And it’s not tomorrow or even this year. Being a Phillies fan right now is all about one thing: Patience.
So in 2017, I’m resolving to be patient with the Phils at every turn.
I won’t get sucked into another 24-17 start and start thinking about what deadline moves they can make to sniff the playoffs in September. I won’t be angry at Freddy Galvis for yet another pop out to short center when he could have just slapped one to the opposite field. What’s the point? He won’t be a meaningful contributor the next time the Phillies are in contention, so it’s not our problem. I won’t get bogged down during an inevitable eight-game losing streak in August (15 of 19 on the road to start the month with TWO West Coast trips and a four-game home series against the Mets??? How does that even happen???), but instead I’ll look for progress. That’s what the Phillies coaches and front office are doing, right? So why can’t I do it?
This year, I’m going to.
OK, let’s face it, it’s impossible as a devoted fan to remove yourself emotionally from the daily ups and downs of a baseball team that can look really bad at times, and still show flashes of what the future can be if everything falls into place. But here’s what you can be: patient.
Before you Facebook your thoughts on how Pete Mackanin shouldn’t have left Jerad Eickhoff in for the seventh inning – again – maybe you should realize the skipper may be testing or pushing his young hurler to see if he can handle it. Don’t Tweet about how Cameron Rupp is taking at-bats away from Jorge Alfaro. It could be to increase Rupp’s trade value.
Before you call WIP requesting, nay, demanding, a moratorium on all Tyler Goeddel at-bats, remember that before the Phillies can cut bait on ANYONE, they better be darn sure they have no use for them. Everyone on this Opening Day roster will have ample opportunity to prove themselves as worthy major leaguers. If patience means another year under the Mendoza line for Goeddel or someone of his ilk just to prove he can’t play, fine by me.
So before you do any of those things, just stop. Put down your phone, disconnect the WiFi from your iPad, do whatever you need to do. Instead, be patient, just like me. Until someone misjudges a pop fly between second and short the first week of the year, then feel free to boo and request he be deported to the nearest third-world country.
Patience. It should be every Phillies fan’s resolution in 2017.