As the Phillies hangover starts to diminish, it’s a good time to realize that it is far too unrealistic to expect them to continually win the World Series every year. Although it is an acceptable thing to have high expectations, since that means they must be a pretty good team, it is unlikely that the Phils can reach the promised land year-in and year-out.
It was only three seasons ago that it was a huge deal that they actually made the playoffs, which is a great accomplishment in baseball since only four teams make it to the playoffs in each league. The level of excitement around the campus then was at the same level as when the Phillies made it to the National League Championship Series and World Series for the past two seasons.
Now that we have been spoiled with a World Championship, back-to-back World Series visits and another trip to the NLCS, it is as if it should be expected that the Phils make it that far every year. The excitement of just making it to the playoffs is no longer existent around campus and the feeling of failure is associated with this year’s team, instead of a feeling of pride.
The measure of success has dramatically changed in such a short period of time that the passion for the team seems to have disappeared from the majority of students on campus during the regular season. The thought process of many students seems to be that they are going to automatically make the playoffs, and if they do not reach the World Series then it was a waste of a season.
Although I do believe that this team was certainly good enough to win the championship once again, there are still 162 games to be played in the regular season before they can even attempt such a feat.
The color red illuminates the campus sporadically, when before it seemed to be prevalent for the length of the entire season. It’s tough for me to understand how the success of the Phillies for two years in a row makes it alright for the so-called fans to write them off as soon as they don’t win the championship.
I think people need to realize such consistency of winning is extremely rare in the sport of baseball. What the Phillies have done for three years in a row is astonishing.
After the World Series victory, it seems that a trend of Phillies fan involvement has occurred on campus.
As the Phillies season opens up in April, the interest in the team is red hot for about two weeks since no one has seen the team play for over four months. Everyone is excited to see their Phillies favorites wear their pin stripes once again as they take the field at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies fever soon starts cooling off as the end of April comes around. The expectations for the team grow to almost unrealistic heights only a few weeks into the season. Before you know it, the semester is over, and the sight of red is vacant on campus.
With the buzz of a new semester starting at the end of August, the Phillies get lost in the shuffle no matter how well or how awful the team is performing at that point in the season. The slight increase in the level of interest for the Phillies is soon gone as there are only traces of red left on campus, until once again it is playoff time. Then campus appears again as the year before, with shirts right around the start of the playoffs and October.
It is great to see the Phillies getting support for the past few years, but I think that it is necessary to still show that support after the season is over, even if they “only” made it to the NLCS. There is no shame in losing, especially when the team put the effort in that they did. Although, like many other people, I do not believe the better team won the series, the game of baseball is very streaky and the hotter team clearly did win.
Maybe a “disappointing” season of only winning one playoff series can lower the expectations of the “faithful” Phillies fans of West Chester University for the upcoming 2011 season.
Mark Gionta is a student at West Chester University. He can be reached at MG649676@wcupa.edu.