Sunday, September 18, 2011

Observations on Sports 9.18

I've been wanting to write a stand alone post about my Phillies but never seem to get around to it so I'm sitting at the bar and I'm going to do it right now. I just started watching them play St. Louis and with a win they will lock up their 5th straight National League Eastern Division title.* One more win after that and they can clinch home field throughout the playoffs and with currently 97 wins the Phillies team record of 101 wins should easily fall before the end of the season.

A look at current stats shows an offensive monster. Ryan Howard leads all of baseball with 113 RBIs while in the National League Hunter Pence is in the top 10 in hits, doubles, and batting average, Shane Victorino is 2nd in triples, Ryan Howard is 3rd in home-runs, and Jimmy Rollins is in the top 10 in stolen bases.

But it is the starting pitching, which leads baseball with a 3.00 team era, that fuels the Phillies machine. The Phils' five headed monster starting rotation is made up of Roy Halladay (18-5), Cliff Lee (16-7 including 6 complete game shutouts), Cole Hamels (14-8), rookie Vance Worley (11-2), and Roy Oswalt (7-9). Halladay and Lee are both front runners for the National League Cy Young award with each one having pitched over 200 innings and each having over 200 strikeouts.

So why all the stats? Because I have been having a running argument with my dad for weeks now. If it wins the World Series, a big if, is this the best Phillies team ever?

I don't think my dad will ever yield in his belief that the team of the late '70s is still a better team. That team won the Phillies only other World Series Championship in 1980 and included two future Hall of Fame members in Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton and one should be member of the hall in Pete Rose. The team also included Greg Luzinski, Larry Bowa, and pitcher Tug McGraw, a man I know better as the father of country music singer Tim McGraw. The 1980 team led the league in almost every offensive category and had the league MVP in Schmidt and Cy Young winner in Carlton.

My argument is that if they should win the World Series in the last five years this Phillies team will have won 5 division titles, 3 National League pennants, and 2 World Series Championships. How can I not be right?

I guess I won't go looking for a job as a sports writer any time soon.

*The Phillies won the game 9-2 and with it their 5th consecutive division title. The game included a 6 run 8th inning highlighted by a 2 out grand slam by Raul Ibanez. Hunter Pence makes his first trip to the post season after being drowned in champagne. Total awesomeness.

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