This series was not going to be a sweep. People put so much pressure on themselves and on the Phillies that most news outlets were calling game one of a seven-game series a must win. Well, they did, and other than Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge and one swing of the bat by Chase Utley, nobody played all that well.
We knew Brett Myers would come out in game two and have his first-inning struggles. We knew he'd leave after six or seven innings giving up three or four runs. We hoped the bats would wake up enough to get the requisite four or five runs needed to come back to Philly up 2-0.
But they didn't. And they haven't. Other than the pitching in game one, I'm not sure this team could play any worse than they have. And it's TIED. This is a good thing.
Ryan Howard had the game on his stick and grounded into the shift. He had a few hits, but isn't exactly instilling fear in the Rays staff right now. Jimmy Rollins hasn't gotten a hit in 10 at bats. Pat Burrell looks awful too. And Jayson Werth has been on a crazy roller coaster, making terrible plays in the field, then great ones, then timely hits, then base-running blunders.
Unlike the Johnny-come-last-minutely fans of Tampa, we have watched a lot of baseball this year. A lot. Some commenters have boasted that they even watch the games during sex (and as I recall the Phils are unbeaten during such acts...so get humping), although methinks that might have something to do with Chase Utley and Pat Burrell and less to do about you. But we speedily digress.
We know his is how the Phils can be. They find ways to win games when the bats aren't hot. Then the bats get hot. Jimmy Rollins will not go the entire World Series without a big hit in a big spot. Ryan Howard will give some fan in the CBP outfield a souvenir for a lifetime. Bat will get his "the Bat" moniker back. Three games at home and they are World Champions. This is what we expected. Hell, its what people with game five tickets WANTED.
Think about it this way. If you have a split, how would you want it? Wouldn't you want to win the game you were supposed to win, then come back and lose the game you were supposed to lose? And wouldn't you rather be 1-1 and not playing well (meaning you could be 0-2) rather than playing out of your mind and getting snakebit? If you're clicking on all cylinders and lose a game because of a terrible umpiring call or a ball off a rafter, we'd feel jinxed. Now we're just where we thought we'd be.
This team isn't snakebit. They're streaky. There are two parts of scoring runs; getting guys in a position to score and then driving them in for runs. At least they are (for the most part) getting the guys in scoring position. Now they just need to knock them in.
But this split is good. The Phils now have home field advantage, playing three straight in a park in which they boasted a 52-33 record. The Phils haven't lost a playoff game at home this season. The Rays are a .500 team on the road.
Cowbells suck. They are a joke. When the Phillies get back to the friendly confines they'll be playing with a real home-field advantage. Us. At Citizen's Bank Park, it'll almost be like 10=9.
CHARITY UPDATE• I'm even sick of me at this point, so we're done with the full posts about the shirts/charity/etc. Well, unless Matt Lauer calls. But I wanted to put some updates in this because they warrant some mention.
You people rock. Sorry, Us people rock. This has gotten huge national play, getting mentions in every paper you can imagine including USA Today. I got an email about a story in Taiwan. And it's because of all of us at this site. Well, and Marty.
In the post yesterday, I added the CBS3 video of Marty on the 6pm news. I make a brief cameo as well. Check it out there. Now, as for the charity....(drumroll please).
I set out to raise $1000. After the initial response, I thought we might be able to get $2500. Then I factored in the bonus I personally get from CafePress (and how big it would be) and decided to donate that as well. So I was hoping for $5000.
Then the real media blitz happened and we got it to around $7000. With the Series having started, I thought sales might curtail and $8000 would be a good number hoping the Phils win it in '08.
Updated sales reports as of this post: If we sell about 75 more items, we'll break $10000. Ten-thousand dollars, in this economy, with all the other choices out there, all going to fight ALS.
One more note: There have been a few other sites pop up with people trying to hop on our bandwagon. While I'm honestly not a fan of someone who hears about an idea then thinks that stealing it is "being a part of it" there's not much I can do. I'm ok with those of you (and some have emailed) who plan to donate your proceeds to ALS research.
Those of you who are out there to try and dupe people into buying your stuff in hopes you can turn a profit...I will find you. I will make you famous and they will know your names. Ha. But mark my words, you will donate the money. You have to. Philly fans won't let it happen any other way. Email me so the angry mob doesn't show up at your house dressed like Robin Hood. Or the Phanatic. We'll be wearing green, that's for sure.
Again, http://whycant.us or click on the link on this page or at my site. The rest of you, please do the right thing.