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by Max Blue

The nineteenth-century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote that all truth passes through three stages - 1. Ridicule; 2 - Violent opposition; 3 - Accepted as self evident.

The truth about the 2012 Philadelphia Phillies:

As ridiculous as it may seem, with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley out with leg issues, and with $21 million pitcher Cliff Lee winless, the Phillies finished the first two months of the season at 28-25, fifth in a tight NL East pennant chase, 2 ½ games behind the Washington Nationals.

And along came June. Early warning came on May 2 in Atlanta when Roy Halladay, still considered at or near the top of the list of the best pitchers in baseball, blew a 6-0 lead in Atlanta. What was that all about? It was about a sore muscle in his shoulder. On May 29 in St. Louis Halladay removed himself in the second inning when the pain became too much. Yikes!

Five days later, rookie infielder Freddy Galvis went down with a fractured lumbar vertebrae. Switch-hitting Galvis had been a revelation with sometimes astonishing, back-twisting, it turned out, back-breaking, infield play, and surprising clutch hitting (3 HR, 24 RBI). Without Galvis the Phillies played 28 games prior to the July 10 All-Star game break, losing 19.

The truth that the 2012 Phillies will see their five-year reign as champions of the NL East end became self evident when the team lost eight of nine following the return of Chase Utley, and faced the second half of the season 16 games in the loss column behind the high-flying Washington Nationals.

On the other hand, with 75 games remaining, if the Phillies go 65-10 . . .

In 1969 the Phillies traded Dick Allen to the St. Louis Cardinals for Tim McCarver and Curt Flood, a transaction that tolled the death knell for Baseball's reserve clause and set the stage for avalanches of money to engulf, confuse, and bemuse major league baseball players. That year Doctor Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, taking note of the reaction of major league baseball club owners to the demise of the reserve clause, published a book entitled On Death and Dying. Doctor Kübler-Ross identified five stages of grief related to such loss -

1. Denial - Say it ain't so, Joe. Chase, J-Roll, the Big Piece - too young to fail.

2. Anger - Somebody's going to pay for this mess; you hear that, Ruben?

3. Bargaining - Hang on now, baseball gods, how about we make a deal? We give you the soul of Shane Victorino, you give us a 26-game winning streak, the same deal you made with John McGraw in 1916.

4. Depression - Don't get me started on that.

5. Acceptance - This is Philadelphia, we don't accept anything.

Deptford, New Jersey,

July 10, 2012

Max Blue must be the world's biggest Phillies fan, based on his poetic expressions of love and frustration with the team over the years.

Read Philadelphia Baseball - (May 2012), Philadelphia's Phillies - Baseball Thrills in Three Centuries  (includes game summaries and daily limericks and for 2009 and 2010 seasons), and Phillies-Journal-1888-2008 (2009)

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