Baseball — America’s pass time and arguably one of the most popular sports in our fair country. Baseball season is getting nearer and nearer, some teams already having started their seasons. For those in Philadelphia, Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park is this Friday, April 7. I know I can feel the excitement in my household.
My stepfather is the Phillies fan of my household. I myself prefer the Red Sox, and my brother bleeds Yankee blue. However, I tend to just enjoy watching the games, preferably when the Sox come to Philly. Anyway, The Phillies seem to be starting off well for they have already won their first game this season against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. Phillies fans have had a rocky couple of years as their team has had some serious ups and downs.
Last year the team finished off the season 71-91, a losing record but at fourth in the National League. It was evident that many Phans were quite irritated with their team as the park was not as full towards the end of the season as it had been at the beginning. Every time I went, the crowds got less and less dense. However, according to MLB.com, the Phillies have a few promising prospects that may be able to help revive some of that old Phanfare we saw when they went to the World Series in 2008.
For example, the Phillies recently acquired the previous Boston Red Sox pitcher, Clay Bucholz. He was pitching a 6.65 ERA during spring training. While many people are worried because those numbers are a little worrisome as a pitcher should be doing much better than that, it is only spring training. Walking into the season, he may perform much better. Major League Baseball also reports that the Phillies have come up with their second youngest roster in their history. They only claim second because of newcomers like Bucholz (age 32), the 39 year old Joaquin Benoit, the 34 year old Daniel Nava, and rounding off the veteran players, Howie Kendrick at 33 years old.
The stats are showing a promising first half of the season at least for the Phils. They have many youngsters that want to play in the big leagues and who have talent. The MLB reports say that if the Phillies get some of these younger players, such as Jake Thompson, into their roster, it could do a world of good. However, we have to wait and see what the Phillies organization does. The fans seem pretty hyped right now, especially considering that tickets for Opening Day at the Park are sold out.
The team has a few familiar faces coming back to join them for the 2017 season from the 2016 season. The outfielder, Aaron Altherr, has returned to the team as has the catcher, Cameron Rupp. The pitcher, Aaron Nola, has returned as well. There are also some new faces to the Phillies organization. Clay Bucholz was mentioned previously, but there are also newcomers such as Elniery Garcia, Ricardo Pinto, and Andrew Knapp. The team is missing long time familiar faces like Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard. Faces that I myself grew up associating with the Phillies have now left.
Despite all the changes to the team, I feel the Phillies will be perfectly fine this season. I know that with each team, when new players and different trades happen, there is always an adaptation and development phase. After that happens, I feel the Phillies will be a fairly decent, if not good, team once more. Hopefully there is also a renewal and vested interest in the joy and summer activity that is going and watching a baseball game at Citizens Bank Park.
Photo credit: Pexels / Shawn Reza