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State Of The City: Phillies Must Take Charge

Happy Monday everybody. I hope the Eagles win capped off a good weekend filled with Phillies trade rumors, fallout from the Mitchell Report, and managable snowfalls. I am writing in italics today to introduce you to a post by Tim Malcolm, a new contributor to the Phillies Nation. Tim is a Philly-native currently stuck in Connecticut with some real journalism credentials from Boston University. We’re happy to have him on board and look forward to many more quality posts. Take it away, Tim.

First off, I’m excited to be a part of Phillies Nation. For the dozens — yes, dozens — who’ve checked me over at Pheeling Goosebumps, thank you for doing so, and I hope you continue to read my work here. The guys here are doing some fantastic things, and I’m looking forward to sharing my views through the site.

I’ll leave personal introductions for later.

I thought my first post would be a quick statement concerning how the Phillies fit into the Philadelphia fan’s picture. Watching the Eagles defeat the Cowboys yesterday, I was happy, of course, but not completely ecstatic. A Cowboy fan co-worker congratulated me on the win this morning, but I just shrugged it off (hey, we ain’t makin’ the playoffs anyway).

I don’t know if every Philadelphia fan is this jaded with the Birds, but let’s look at what’s happened in 2007:

  • The Eagles magical run under Jeff Garcia came to a crashing end with a heartbreaker in New Orleans. In the game, Andy Reid’s deficient play-calling and the team’s personnel gaffes came back to bite the Birds.
  • The Flyers posted a league-worst, franchise-worst record.
  • The Sixers traded Allen Iverson and, despite a surge that ended close to the playoffs, left little hope for the immediate future.
  • The Eagles offseason was ripe with turmoil, mainly because of Andy Reid’s darling children.

This all before the Phillies started running closer and closer to the Mets, and before the Phils finally caught them. Then, of course, they won the East.
Since then,

  • The Eagles have suffered through close losses, bad coaching, bad quarterbacking and injuries, leaving a window showing one last crack before closing for good.
  • The Flyers have rebounded to be one of the top teams in the East, but their too-often lax play and bully mentality have left us a little conspicuous.
  • The Sixers fired Billy King (finally), but aren’t remotely close to being a contender in the top-heavy NBA.

The Phillies, meanwhile, have coasted since Sept. 30. They traded for Brad Lidge, which sounds great; but, they haven’t upgraded the bullpen any more. They signed a slew of AAA-quality talent, but haven’t made up for losing Aaron Rowand. Add on the holes that remained after last season (third base, starting pitcher, back-end reliever), and the Phils’ method of staying the course has been somewhat of a wash.

We’re all hungry. Listen — the Flyers may go far in the playoffs, but the way they look, they could just as easily fizzle in the first round. The Sixers could jump into the back-end of the East playoffs, but come on, are they winning two games in them? And the Eagles? Ha. Let the Kevin Kolb Era begin.

The Phillies, however, are on the cusp. They are literally one of the top teams in the National League; heck, before Arizona grabbed a second ace over the weekend, they were practically Team 1A in the NL. So now is not the time to rest on laurels. Now is not the time to stay the course, stand Pat, lay down, whatever. Now is the time to move.

The Phils are rumored to be close to signing Geoff Jenkins. That’s a start. There are still pitching holes to solve. They must grab another starter and a back-end reliever. If it takes Carlos Carrasco and Josh Outman, so be it. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins are in their absolute primes. Cole Hamels is a stud. Brett Myers will likely put up good numbers. There’s enough of a supporting cast to carry these guys to 85 wins again, but they need the three pieces left to get them to 95.

Ownership frugality aside, there’s potential for the Phillies to run away with the city’s heart. Now is the time. Front office — you’re the best team in the city. You won. Now go for the jugular.

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