Monday, July 16, 2007

At a loss for 10,000 words...

It's now officially official (which is to say, for real for real) – those fightin' Philadelphia Phillies are the first sports franchise ever to reach the much maligned milestone that is 10,000 losses. Milestone may not even be the right word for this dubious honor, as it seems a bit odd to refer to a historic level of sports-futility with a word associated with, well, actual achievements. I'm going with anti-milestone, but only because "anal-leakage-stone" is a smidgen too clumsy to be used consistently.

Anyway, anti-milestone or not, 10,000 losses is a fairly useless statistic. More than anything, it's proof that the franchise has existed for 125 seasons. Did the team really become worse historically when it went from loss 9,999 to 10,000? No. Does the fact that they've made the playoffs only nine times in their 125 years of existence speak more to their general awfulness? Probably. But I'm not writing this to do an umpteenth recap of how awful the Phillies have been throughout their history; it's a story that's gotten plenty of coverage by individuals more dedicated to researching baseball ineptitude than myself. To me, #10,000 is just another in a long line of psychological batterings I’ve witnessed in my 24 years as a Philadelphia fan.

It’s obviously just one game in the middle of this regular season, and it’s obviously a statistical plateau I’ve seen coming for a few years now. Still, when Ryan Howard struck out to close the books on loss 10K, my mind could only focus on a number of other Philly losses. It’s a five-digit reminder of a lifetime of almosts, wait-til-next-years, and what-could-have-beens. It’s Joe fucking Carter, a Stanley Cup finals sweep, Shaq and Kobe, and 3 NFC Championships with a vomitful Super Bowl. 24 years, 4 sports, 0 titles. These are the numbers that come to my mind after loss 10,000. Maybe now you’ll understand why a Philly fan would boo his own mother on an off day.

So while this season is far from over, and despite loss number 10,000 being about as meaningless as the one that preceded it, I can’t help but get ahead of myself with the what-ifs. In my world, tomorrow is a day where Donovan McNabb’s leg could fall off, where Chase Utely’s hands could spontaneously combust, and where Billy King might decide to rock a starting five comprised entirely of guys named “Shavlik.” Nevertheless, when all is said and done, I’ll keep plugging along with the hope that, tomorrow, our fair city will sport a team that doesn’t ultimately drop the soap. Such is life for a Philadelphia fanatic – rabid paranoia and delusions of grandeur.

And now, rather than continue this senseless rambling, I head to bed… where visions of Mitch Williams dance in my head.


GiromiDe said...

At least most people alive remember when the Phillies last won the World Series. Friggin' McKinley was President when the Cubs last won that title.

the great bambi said...

Actually, Teddy Roosevelt was President when the Cubs last won, McKinley was shot in 1901 and I hate to be the one to tell you this but...he didn't make it...damn anarchists.

GiromiDe said...

I is stewpid.