Not too many “experts” are picking the Phillies to win this thing but that’s probably a good thing — being underdogs, that is. In fact, the Phllies are perpetual underdogs — after all, they are famous for losing — they have lost nearly 10,100 games - more than any team - in any sport – ever! Pretty impressive, although not exactly what you want to be remembered for. When shortstop Jimmie Rollins said in Spring 2007 that the Phillies were the team to beat, everyone rolled their eyes in disbelief. By September, the Phillies had won the NL East. In Spring 2008, Rollins said the Phillies would win 100 games. They are at 99 and counting and the Rays are up next - tonight, in fact……..
Here is what the “experts” see: The Rays are incredibly talented. They have 4 games at home, a very good starting rotation, some hitters on a postseason tear, great team defense, great team speed, the smarter manager, and so on. No one bets against a team this good… unless the other team has something good, too.
Do the Phillies have something the Rays don’t and do they have enough of it to swing the series?
Here is what Phans see: A team that is playing better than .700 baseball in September and October. A team that came to play when it mattered the most and a team that, in spite of its past, believes in itself. But mostly, they see a team that, on the night they clinched the NL Pennant away from home, talked about how they couldn’t wait to see the fans back home and about how “they must be going crazy ” (and indeed within minutes, Broad Street was shut down)
Bottom line: the Phillies have Phan-love.
Chris Ruddick on seattllepi.com senses this Phanvantage could be huge:
“If you look at everything on paper, the Rays should probably win. But I am going to go with Philadelphia. I think the Phils will be able to steal a game in St. Petersburg, then come home to what will be an unbelievably raucous crowd at Citizens Bank Park. The city of Philadelphia is so starved for a title that those fans could will this team to a victory. The Rays are not going to know what hit them when they arrive in the City of Brotherly Love. They think cowbells and mohawks are cool, wait until they see the crowd in Philadelphia in Games 3, 4 and 5.”
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Can Philly steal this series? Why Can’t Us? **
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