Saturday, September 30, 2006

Painful Playoff Reminders For Phillies

Saturday afternoon, the Philadelphia Phillies were eliminated from postseason contention when the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres both won. Although the Phillies had a strong performance after a late-July fire sale seemingly conceded the season, in the end they wound up missing the playoffs for the 13th consecutive year. These individuals will provide particularly painful reminders of another near-miss for Philadelphia.

Bobby Abreu: After nine seasons with the Phillies, Abreu finally made it to the postseason as a Yankee. Actually, this entry is more painful for Boston.

Marlon Anderson: The Dodgers’ August acquisition broke in with Philadelphia, for whom he never hit more than 11 home runs in a season. He slugged 7 for L.A. this September in the biggest “out of nowhere” power display for an Anderson since Brady’s 50 dingers in 1996. And Marlon did it without the sideburns.

Phil Angelides: On the heels of the Dodgers and Padres outlasting the Phillies, California’s democratic candidate for governor will probably lose to incumbent Arnold Schwarzenegger. This fall, it’s inevitable for Phils to be denied by California.

J.D. Drew: Since entering the major leagues, the draftee who spurned Philadelphia has played for three clubs and made the playoffs with each one. After reading that sentence, Phillies fans just threw batteries at someone.

Jim Leyland: Philadelphia chose to hire Charlie Manuel over Leyland as its manager before last season. Leyland is the probable American League manager of the year for guiding the Tigers into the playoffs. But I’m sure they’d rather have Charlie.

Kenny Lofton: The Dodgers outfielder will make his fifth postseason appearance in six years. The only miss? With Philadelphia last season.

Ken Macha: The Oakland skipper leads a franchise that was originally in Philly and now plays in the hometown of Jimmy Rollins. Their inevitable 3-2 division series loss will not make the Phillies any less jealous.

Mike Piazza: A native of the Philly area, the current Padre will play for his third different team in the playoffs. He was drafted by the Dodgers in the 62nd round only as a favor to then-manager Tommy Lasorda, a pal of Piazza’s father. Manuel should be asking all his buddies if their sons can catch.

Albert Pujols: The Cardinal’s heroics likely mean that the 1964 Phillies still own baseball’s worst late-season collapse. And he might beat out Ryan Howard for MVP. Which would be completely rude to his adopted city, since Howard is a St. Louis native.

Scott Rolen: The Cardinals’ third baseman is on the verge of his fourth playoff appearance since his trade from Philadelphia in 2002. Equaling the combined number of Placido Polanco (this year with Detroit) and Mike Timlin (2003, 2004, and 2005 with Boston), who came to the Phillies in the deal. So the trade was basically even.

Jason Schmidt: The Giants pitcher will not be part of the playoffs, but he takes the mound against the Dodgers on Sunday. If the Phillies were still alive, you would think a guy named Schmidt could help them.

Carlos Silva: The Twins’ starter was acquired from Philadelphia for Eric Milton. Although Milton is no longer with the Phillies, a few homers he surrendered in Citizens Bank Park still haven’t landed.

Billy Wagner: Wagner departed Philly for the Mets and landed in the playoffs. Earlier this year, he blasted his former Phillie teammates, forgetting that that responsibility belongs to the Philly fans.

The Phillies’ elimination means that left-hander Cole Hamels will not get to face his hometown Padres in a playoff game. The promising rookie may help the Phillies return to the postseason next year, but for now he provides another painful reminder for Philly sports fans. Born in December 1983, the city has not won a championship in his lifetime.