By Dan MacNeal
2010 started with a lot of promise, coming off back-to-back World Series appearances and one championship. Hopes were high for the 2010 Phillies, but halfway through the year, the team has struggled. They are currently sitting in third place and 5 games behind the hated Atlanta Braves. Missing Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Placido Polanco among others for a chunk of time hasn’t helped matters. But, let us hop into the old time machine and travel ten years into the past.
The year is 2000. Ten years to today, the Phillies trotted out a starting lineup including an aging Ron Gant, Alex Arias & Tom Prince. The Phils beat the Brewers that day, with Chris Brock earning the win. Wait, WHO? Yeah, Chris Brock. The team ended play on July 4 twelve games out of first, and residing in the NL East basement. Okay, maybe I’m making things a little worse than they seem, because the 2000 team did have a young Pat Burrell, star Scott Rolen and an emerging Bobby Abreu on the roster.
51 different players played for the Phils that summer. Most of the names long forgotten, such as Kevin Sefcik, Cliff Politte and Clemente Alverez. (Who the hell is Clemente Alverez?!?) Jimmy Rollins did get his feet wet, playing 14 games with the big club. Seriously, letting the 21 year old Rollins play wasn’t any worse an idea than giving Desi Relaford more time at short.
About 1.6 million people went through the turnstiles at the Vet that summer. To put that in perspective, the Phillies have already drawn over 1.7 million so far this season. In a stadium that holds about 20,000 less people per game.
Well, my friends, the summer grew long, and a not horrible first half (.453) turned into a Pirates-esque second half (.342) for a grand total record of 65-97. Ouch. Curt Schilling got tired of the losing, demanded a trade, and was dealt to Arizona for four stiffs. If I mentioned their names, Philadelphia would get mad all over again. A eight game losing streak helped the Phils finish 32 games under .500, 30 games behind the first place Braves. Terry Francona got the axe at the end of the year, although it probably should have happened sooner.
(For those fans too young to remember, or started watching the Phils seven or eight years after this story, the Phillies stunk at one point in time. Really stunk bad.)
That summer was brutal. Please bring me back to 2010.