As I look out the window most of the ice from the recent storms has finally melted. So far this winter it seems like there is a new weather “event” every few days. But my thoughts are drifting south to Florida. Today pitchers and catchers for the Philadelphia Phillies report.
As has been well documented by now, Phillies fans got an early Christmas present in December when their team signed pitching ace Cliff Lee. He was added to an already formidable staff that includes reigning NL Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay, former World Series MVP Cole Hamels and perennial ace Roy Oswalt.
Snagging Lee was an unexpected surprise for Philly. We’re a town that is used to watching the city just up the coast, New York, get whatever it wants, often at our expense. But for two years in a row a premier pitcher in baseball chose a contract with less money for the opportunity to play in Philadelphia. We’re certainly not used to all this love. Add to this the drama of the NY Mets owners being sued for a billion dollars for their alleged role in the Bernie Madoff scandal and the upcoming season looks exciting indeed.
However, Philly being Philly, we are cautious about our potential to be overwhelming this baseball season. It’s great to have four aces but the Phillies were eliminated by the Giants in last season’s playoffs because they didn’t hit, not because they needed another pitcher. Also, the city of Rocky is not used to being the favorite. We tend to enjoy our underdog status. We prefer the Rocky of the first film to the ‘steroided up champ of Rocky IV.
But we’ll take what we can get. If being the pre-season favorite is the price to pay for being baseball’s new “it” team, then so be it. For now it’s time to put away the snow shovels, unpack the flip-flops and get ready for a new season of America’s pasttime.