Stage One: Denial
Approaching this season, the Phil’s were favorites to win the NL East and go balls-deep into the playoffs. Fans and players alike were hopeful for another shot at the World Series. After a characteristically slow start, we still held out faith that with the return of sluggernauts Chase Utley and Ryan Howard would come a tsunami of wins to drown the notion of a lackluster ballclub. And when disappointment continued, the denial intensified, and denial intensified into numbness, and numbness into rage.
Stage Two: Anger
"Really? REEALY? Mike Fontenot and Ty Wiggington in the same goddamn infield? And this bullpen-this isn't even a bullpen; no they don't even deserve that, this is a f*cking calfpen. Yeah, I'm talking to you Bastardo. Just cause you don't have a dad doesn't make it OK to walk every friggin’ batter you face. You hear me? Jimmy, would it kill you to take the first pitch every once in a while? And JP Beastmode? What kind of stupid name is that? More like JP BUNTSmode. And Mayberry, I don't remember yayberrying to a right-handed pitcher since like....ever. What the hell happened to yous guys? Win a goddamn game. C'mon."
*throws remote at dog*
Stage Three: Bargaining
The Phillies become sellers Ruben Amaro trades Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino to the Giants and Dodgers respectively, and later Joenut Blanton to the Dodgers for the similarly-built Michelin Man and a couple of hardworking stadium custodians. Hopeful fans cling unreasonably to a miracle comeback. Chris Wheeler continues to be a horrific broadcaster, and all is wrong with the world. I'd give anything to see the Phillies return to their former glory, to remove these AAA players (and announcers) from Citizen's Bank Ballpark, to make the playoffs, to win the NLCS, to win the World Series. Anything.
Stage Four: Depression
Stage Five: Acceptance
While this season has gone grim, the Phillies organization did not completely crumble. It was sad to see some players go, but hope lingers in the afterglow of loss. By selling, the Phillies have bought themselves time to retool with new players and reevaluate the current veterans while allowing opportunities for youngsters to showcase their skills. The bandwagon has come and gone, and for the first time in an apparent eternity fans can snag cheap tickets for a night at the ballpark. Perhaps even the ever-smug Ruben Amaro has been put in his place, but that may be looking a little too broadly at the bright side. Regardless, good things are sure to come-if not immediately, soon.