Congrats to Philadelphia’s local athletic club for winning their professional sports competition. A few notes:
- The Rays seemed to spend the series proving my egregiously misplaced skepticism retroactively correct. They played like a talented but inexperienced team, symbolized for me by Upton lunging at the first pitch with the (extremely fast) tying run on first in the top of the 8th. They had a lot of terrible ABs against wily but (the marvelous Hamels aside) hittable pitchers. And defensively they seemed to think it was 2007 again.
- Another addition to my voluminous “people I was wrong about” file is Charlie Manuel. And it will be interesting to see how Amaro does as GM. Gillick has done a terrific job filling out his formidable talent core with a lot of quality spare parts (and also deserves credit for not dealing the underrated Burrell.) It may seem like when a GM arrives with three MVP-calibre players in his lineup his job is easy, but as a fan whose formative sports experience was the early 80s Expos and most recent is the Mets teams the Phillies have humiliated for two straight years and have to be considered the favorites to do so again, it ain’t easy. If the Phillies keep finding Werths and Victorinos while the Mets keep finding Castillos, Chavezes, and Decomposed Corpse of Alouses, they’ll keep beating them. (Of course, this makes it all the more annoying that he conspicuously failed — speaking of teams with formidable talent cores who win much less than they should, although most of that was Woodward — to do this with the Mariners.)
- It will, of course, to be interesting what happens to Tampa. The bad news is that the only miracle team to have accomplished much of anything else is the 1991 Braves; the good news is that it’s probably the best comparison (although ironically I think you can also make a good case for the Whiz Kid Phillies.) You have to worry about a team with so much young pitching in a division that will leave little margin for error, but they have a lot of impressive talent on both sides of the ball and a seemingly good organization. It will be interesting to watch.