Commentary

Bring on 2018 already … these Phillies are fun

I laid my head on the pillow, and my sight began to fade. The red images on the television grew blurry. I’m not in my twenties anymore; I can’t just happily stay with these marathon games.

It’s also September. This game doesn’t matter in the standings, though sure, the Phillies could place themselves out of the first overall draft pick in 2018. But nothing happening between the Phils and Miami Marlins was going to change much about the rotation of the Earth.

I tried. I really tried to do it, but my mind said “sleep” and my eyes said “I’m with you.” So I began to drift.

And then Nick Williams, at that very moment, slapped a liner into a left-field nook. Aaron Altherr raced around the bases and chugged toward the plate. This time the throw wouldn’t result in a contest at the plate; Altherr slid in safely, the Phillies won, and rejuvenated, I typed out two final tweets before, mercifully, I gave into my better judgment.

This is how it’s going right now. I tuned in early to watch J.P. Crawford and Rhys Hoskins at the plate. And as the Phillies surrendered the lead, and found themselves far behind the Marlins, I tuned out. I had other things to do – eat dinner with my family, bathe my daughter and put her to bed, finish making my daughter’s lunch for the next day, clean the kitchen, finish some work. Again, I’m not in my twenties anymore; things have changed.

Then, while finishing my work, I caught up with Twitter. Rhys Hoskins with yet another home run, his 15th in 32 games, some absurd record that for some reason is not drawing enough attention across the country. A couple clutch hits and a Crawford double bringing the Phillies within spitting distance of Miami. I tuned back in just as Hoskins struck out to end the seventh; I have the best timing. But I stayed with it. The Phils were within a run. Let’s see what the kids do.

Let’s cut to the chase here: I’m excited for 2018. I want 2018 to be here now. Sure the Phils have plenty of flaws (pitching) and they’ll need to address a few things in the offseason (pitching, pitching), but already we can see Williams, Altherr and Odubel Herrera in an everyday outfield. We can see Hoskins plugging the middle of the order (he makes a fine No. 2 or 3 hitter, honestly). We can see Crawford settling in at whatever position he wants (he can play them all), and Scott Kingery joining him when the time comes. We can see Jorge Alfaro developing into a decent catcher, which is all we need because he’s already a pretty good hitter. This offense isn’t very far off. There’s a 2005 Phillies feel about them – you can see the really good hitters already towering over their peers, scoring walks when we used to see three-pitch outs, slamming laser beams into the outfield when we used to see weak groundouts. The 2018 offense has real potential. I can’t help but want April right now.

We’ll have to wait. Hopefully in that time we’ll see some holes filled (pitching, pitching, pitching), but this looks real. And this looks fun. Williams’ smile lights up my tablet screen. Hoskins’ swat threatens to blow out my eardrums when I’m listening on my buds. Herrera’s a joy to share with the world. You know what? Let baseball sleep on these guys – they’ll just catch everyone by surprise, and we’ll already be on board.

Tuesday night was a juicy preview of what’s to come. Hoskins calmly smashing a game-tying home run in the 10th inning. The Phils working mini-rallies until finally busting through in the 15th, with Williams lacing that ball into left and bringing the sparse crowd to its feet.

We’re the first people to witness something happening here. We’re the secret club. I have a good feeling about these kids, especially after getting a full night’s rest. Times may have changed, but this team gives me those goosebumps, those which I haven’t felt in years.

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