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Shock and Awe: Putting the Phillies Turnaround in Perspective
Fact number 1: as of July 1st, the Philadelphia Phillies, having just been swept by the Miami Marlins, were 36-45, in last place in the National League East and 7.5 games back in the National League Wild Card race.
Fact number 2: as of July 1st, Hunter Pence was in right field, Shane Victorino was in center field and Joe Blanton was the team’s fifth starter.
Fact number 3: a few weeks later Pence, Victorino and Blanton would be playing for teams in California.
Fast forward to last week, the second week of September.
The Phillies, now only 3 games back in the Wild Card race, had jumped to third place in their division and were harboring a realistic, albeit far-fetched chance to make the playoffs. Things had gotten so strange for the Fightin’s of South Broad Street that even after dropping 3 of 4 games this past weekend to the very dreadful, very bad and very much in last place Houston Astros, the Phillies remained in the playoff hunt. Somehow, the Phillies making the playoffs has become a very real possibility.
Fact number 4: you didn’t see this coming.
It’s okay. You can admit it. Everyone in the Delaware Valley should. No one could have predicted this was how, up until recently, an extremely disappointing and largely unwatchable 2012 season would end. Yes the Phillies just won seven games in a row and that makes things a little easier to believe, but it wasn’t that long ago that the team was routinely showing less life than Mitt Romney at a rave; looking about as comfortable too. The Phillies had given no indication as of July 1st that such a turnaround was possible. They didn’t look capable of it.
Quite simply, as of July 1st, fresh off being swept by the Marlins, the idea that the 2012 Philadelphia Phillies would be in a position to make the playoffs by mid-September just wasn’t realistic. In fact, here are ten things that would have seemed more realistic on July 1st than the Phillies turning their season around and making the playoffs:
1. The United States switching to the Metric system.
2. The Loch Ness Monster being spotted at the Closing Ceremonies of the Summer Olympics, awkwardly sporting an Oasis t-shirt during the Beady Eye performance while holding an “I Love Noel” sign above his head.
3. Justin Bieber growing facial hair.
4. Sarah Palin proving that you can in fact see Russia from her house (although she fails to mention that this is while watching Rocky IV on television.)
5. Cheesesteaks becoming the new, hip way to lose weight.
6. Andy Reid admitting that yes, he does frequently misuse timeouts. He also admits that he stores food for the winter months in his moustache.
7. Mayor Nutter spitting hot fire during Jay Z’s set at the Made in America festival.
8. Women finding farting attractive.
9. Everyone mutually agreeing that wearing socks with flip flops looks ridiculous.
10. Using a cellphone as a phone…to talk on…to a person.
Whether you thought so or not, it sort of, kind of maybe is possible that the Phillies make the Playoffs this year. How possible is it? Well I wouldn’t start wearing that Phillies t-shirt you packed away in early August yet- but I’d definitely make sure it’s clean. You might need it soon enough.
As of this morning, the Phillies were 74-74 and 3.5 games back in the NL Wild Card race.