Phillies 2009 Year in Review And a Sneak Peak at 2010
- Updated: November 21, 2009
The Philadelphia Phillies accomplished quite a bit in 2009, despite falling just short of the coveted World Series Championship repeat. In fact, just getting back to the Fall Classic showed quite a bit of determination, and, to make it more impressive, they did it with a team that was inferior to their 2009 Championship squad. In 2008, the stars aligned for the club, as Brad Lidge reached nearly unattainable heights, and role players like Eric Bruntlett , Matt Stairs, and Greg Dobbs performed admirably when called upon. Unfortunately, this past season saw a major falloff in each of these players, and the Philly patchwork bullpen made getting through the late innings tedious at best. But even with a lackluster bench that went a staggering 1-for-31 in the playoffs, and a bullpen that remained in shambles for the entire season, this team persevered, zoned in, and found ways to win.
In the end, they lost to a better Yankee team, but there’s certainly no reason for them to hang their heads. And as disappointing as it is to be on the doorstep of another world title and be turned away, fans around the city are still very supportive and thankful for the team they have, which brings me to my next point.
In addition to the scrappy, never-say-die attitude this team has brought to their city in the past couple of years, they also managed to pull off an equally impressive feast – they turned Philadelphia into a baseball town (again). For about as long as I can remember (I’m 27 years old), I’ve represented the minority in Philly – a Phillies fan first and an Eagles fan second. Philadelphia, until the past 2-3 years, had always been obsessed about the Eagles. The Phillies almost always took a back seat to their football counterparts. But because of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino , and company, everything has changed. The baseball season has been over for weeks now, and the Eagles are in playoff contention at the midway point, but you wouldn’t know it if you turned on the local sports radio. Fans want to know what changes are in store for the Phillies as they make a push to get back to the World Series yet again with their impressive core of talented players primed to win another title. They want to know what radio hosts think about prospective trades and how many days remain until pitchers and catchers report. And although this might seem like an insignificant change to national onlookers, let me tell you this – it’s astounding. But then again, winning changes a lot of things.
So, what is in store for the NL-defending champs? Will they trade Hamels for Halladay? The fan base is surprisingly split on this after a subpar year from the young southpaw, but GM Ruben Amaro assures everyone that, should the Phillies actually make a move to acquire Halladay, it won’t cost them the young lefthander. The Phillies will also be searching for bullpen help, although it seems to be too early to speculate on who is on their radar, as they are likely waiting for the market to develop. Finally, management has made it clear that they are seeking an offensive upgrade at third base after declining Pedro Feliz’s option. Early signs point to Mark DeRosa , although Chone Figgins , Adrian Beltre, Placido Polanco , and even Miguel Tejada are on their radar as well.
Expect for this team to make some necessary adjustments to set up a third consecutive World Series appearance, because Ruben Amaro, Charlie Manuel, and company are quite familiar with the phrase “strike while the iron is hot,” and that’s exactly what they intend to do.