Blog Entry

With 5 straight titles, it's a given Phils win

Posted on: September 17, 2011 10:12 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 10:14 pm
 
There was a time when the Phillies weren't expected to win every year.

There was a time when we thought of what happened in September 2007 as simply a Mets collapse, and not as the start of something big an hour and a half down the road. The Phillies were just the beneficiaries of that collapse, or so the story went.

The Phillies were not baseball royalty, four years ago.

But they won the East that year, and they won it all the next year, and they won the National League again the year after that. And they won the East again in 2010.

Now they've won it again in 2011, for the fifth year in a row.

But you expected that, didn't you? That's a given now, isn't it?

They went 14 years between division titles. They went 24 years with just one division title.

And now it's so expected that it's easy to forget what an accomplishment it is.

Don't forget. What the Phillies are doing is something very special, and what they clinched with Saturday night's 9-2 win over the Cardinals is absolutely worth celebrating.

As I pointed out in a blog last week, more than half the teams in baseball have won at least one division title since the Phillies' reign in the East began. In the 43-year history of division play, the Phillies are just the fifth team with a streak of at least five crowns in a row.

"It's hard," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said last week. "If you're not careful, when you start the season, there's an expectation that you've already won it."

Manuel gets credit for establishing the winning culture in Philadelphia. Players like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz deserve credit for a clubhouse atmosphere that promotes winning, and accepts nothing less.

And general manager Ruben Amaro, who was Pat Gillick's assistant when this run began, deserves credit for giving the roster the necessary tweaks and additions. Amaro's trades for Cliff Lee (twice) and Roy Halladay (once) have built the tremendous starting rotation that guaranteed that the run would extend for at least another year.

Not that there's any sense that this is the end. The Phillies will be the favorites in the East next year, too.

They were expected to win this year. They're expected to win next year.

Nowadays, they're expected to win every year.

It wasn't always that way.

Category: MLB
Tags: Phillies
 
Comments

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