They did it again. This time seemed like a walk in the park. Five straight National League East titles. This team keeps accomplishing feats that no other Philadelphia sports team has accomplished. Long, sustained success is not something Philadelphia teams are known for. Sure, the Andy Reid Eagles won 4 straight NFC East titles but they threw up on themselves in the playoffs. The Flyers and Sixers could only manage 3 straight division crowns. It hasn't been a, get to the NFC Championship game and find a way to lose kind of run. The Phillies run includes a World Series title, another World Series appearance and who knows what this year. The current Phillies roster has 8 players who were a part of all 5 division winning teams. What is crazy is many of these players seem to get the most criticism. I don't know if its Eagles fans in disguise but many of these core players can't catch a break.
- Kyle Kendrick. Ok. Maybe KK is just in the right place at the right time. I must say this about Kyle; he has earned my respect for being a team guy. You know he wants to start but he seems like he will do whatever he can to help the team. In an age when almost all athletes have egos that are bigger then their skill set, players like Kyle Kendrick are a breath of fresh air. Thanks for being a good soldier Kyle.
- Carlos Ruiz. Nobody bashes 'Chooch' and rightly so. The only way I see that we let him down is the fact that he hasn't been voted to an All Star team yet. We are approaching 200 straight sellouts; make it your mission to get him on the All Star team next year.
- Shane Victorino. 'The Flyin' Hawaiian' is almost as beloved as 'Chooch'. Who can bash the greatest 'Rule 5' pick up since Roberto Clemente?
- Ryan Madson. I still hear people whispering that he doesn't have it as a closer. The 2008 Brad Lidge will make it difficult for future closers in this town. A closer having a perfect season never happens. Even Mariano Rivera blows a save every now and then. I take solace in the fact that the people who think a closer should be perfect never saw Jose Mesa attempt to close a game. Keep doing your thing Mad Dog. Keep your pimp hand strong, and tell your wife you're signing here in the off-season.
- Cole Hamels. He got booed for a sub par performance in his first start of the year. How soon we forget. The man was MVP of the NLCS and World Series in 2008. He seems to get more heat for a bad outing than any other starter not named Kyle Kendrick. Without 'Hollywood' the Phillies are the Eagles, getting close but not winning it all.
- Chase Utley. Chase used to have a 'Get out of jail free card', not anymore. I guess people have gotten tired of hearing about his health issues. I actually know someone who bashes Utley on a regular basis. All I can say is this, If you don't like Chase Utley, you don't like baseball. He plays the game the way Pete Rose did, balls to the wall every game. He is paying the price with all the injuries but that's why we should love him.
- Ryan Howard. He gets bashed because he's not Albert Pujols. King Albert hasn't won 5 straight division titles, the most an Albert lead team has won in a row is 3. Albert has only won 1 World Series. He has the greatest manager in the history of baseball, he has Matt Holliday and a resurgent Lance Berkman and they can't catch the Brewers or Braves. I'll take 'The Big Piece' for this team. Mr. September knows how to win. Enough with the Howard bashing, he's the best position player on the best Phillies team ever.
- Jimmy Rollins. I have heard how Jimmy Rollins isn't a great leadoff hitter since he's been here. So what? He was the 2007 MVP, the year this run started. He flipped the bird to the Mets by saying, "We are the team to beat". He is the best fielding shortstop of his generation. He makes this team go. Rube needs to show me something. Lock up JRoll for the rest of his career. Let's see him retire as a Phillie.
Let's not forget Charlie. He got crushed when he first got here. Now he's 4 wins away from being the winningest manager in Phillies history. Can we finally drop the 'Negadelphia' act and embrace this core?