Through the Looking Glass… a perspective
“He/She/They need to look in the mirror!” is an oft used sports cliche, generally when things aren’t going well (for discussion purposes, I’ll use ‘he’ – no offense to the ladies). It means said person needs to take a self-inventory and obtain a proper perspective of the situation. It’s a two-fold exercise, a chance to look at the little things, i.e., the “self” – did I miss a spot shaving? is some of lunch still stuck in my teeth? – and the big things, i.e., the “other stuff” – is someone sneaking up behind me? where did that truck come from?
We all go through this process (well, most of us anyway). After last night’s Phillies stink-fest, it seemed like a good time to look into the team’s mirror through their eyes using my eyes. It is an interesting view…
The little things, the “self”…
I see bloodshot eyes (a lead-off hitter who will end the year under .250), a few nicks and cuts (no regular will hit over .300), a couple zits on the forehead (team ERA 4+, middle-of-the-pack), and a missing tooth and some oregano stuck in there (back-end of bullpen is a train wreck), but I’m heading for a 90+ win season for only the 13th time in 127 years. I’ll take that.
The big picture, the “other stuff”…
I see a mostly clear road with little traffic. It’s been a smooth trip (in first place for 138 days) and I’m rolling along in cruise control (15-13 in Sept), but why waste the gas? The only traffic is a semi with a Georgia license plate barreling along behind me. He’s coming like a madman (Braves 17-8 in Sept), but he overslept and got in a big hole (just 69-62 prior). He can keep chugging, but the left lane ends pretty soon, and the right-of-way is mine.
So what’s it all mean, what’s the perspective tell us?
In 07 the Phillies were 7 back with 17 to play, went 13-4 and won the Division on the final day. In 08, they were 3.5 back with 16 to play, went 13-3 and won the Division on the penultimate day. The Mets helped, but the Phillies were a lot closer in the rearview mirror than the Braves are. They were 9 back with 23 to play, 8.5 back with 13 to play, and are still 4 back with 6 left. Sure, they’re flying, but like I said, the left lane ends shortly… I’d rather be the team with the Magic Number of *3* instead of their *11*.
The mirror doesn’t lie – except the ones at the carnival; this is fun, but it ain’t no funhouse – so get your Rally Towel a wavin’ and make some noise! And put away the damn mirror already, you look just fine.
(Oh, and one other tidbit… the 1964 Phillies went 14-19 post 8/31. It
took a 22-10 finish by the Cardinals to track them down and win the NL
by 1 game.)