Will the Philadelphia Phillies Be the Miami Heat of the National League?

February 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

Back in early July of this year, LeBron James told the world that he was “taking (his) talents to South Beach and joining the Miami Heat.” With James’ decision, along with the additional acquisition of Chris Bosh through free agency, the Heat were supposed to shatter every known record for NBA dominance.

Media and fans alike predicted an immediate assault on performance marks like consecutive wins (33 by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers) or total season victories (72 by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls). Note: With 32 games remaining this season, both of those records are out of reach for the 2010-11 Heat.

The truth is, the Miami Heat are on track to win a reputable 59 games, good for second place in the NBA Eastern Conference, but far from a historic season. 

With pitchers and catchers already reporting and Spring Training here, discussions have already begun about how dominant the Philadelphia Phillies will be in 2011. Baseball experts and casual fans alike have acknowledged the amazing arsenal of pitching that Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has assembled.

Cy Young winner Roy Halladay came into the Philadelphia fold before last season through a trade. Former Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt was added last summer through another trade. And now, Cliff Lee, the premier free agent target of this past offseason, signed on to bring his talents to the City of Brotherly Love.

These three were simply additions to a Philly starting pitching staff that still had 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels on board.

Even before you look at what the Phillies have at the plate and in the field, this team, on paper, could look like the most intimidating collection of talent in MLB history.

Or…could it be the latest example of how talent collection is not the only factor in winning championships?

Last fall, no one gave the San Francisco Giants a prayer in the NLCS. Instead of a Philadelphia sweep, like many supposed, the Giants took the series in six games (4-2), sending Charlie Manual and most of the baseball world away scratching their heads.

Betting against the Phillies to win the NL East is not advisable. There’s more than a decent chance that they will end up back in the NLCS again this year. They may even make it to and win the World Series.

But, one of the great aspects of sports is that the games are not played on paper.

Comparing rosters and statistics is mesmeric. Looking at the leagues and forecasting ahead is exhilarating, especially with pitchers and catchers starting to throw it around. Predicting record-breaking seasons is part of the joy of following a sport.

I am one baseball fan who will be watching with interest to see if the Phillies can fulfill the Mount Everest-like expectations of the baseball world.

I am not predicting or hoping for the Phillies failure. I will not be sad if they succeed this season.  

But, I will also be paying attention to their progress toward the 116-win mark set by the 1906 Chicago Cubs and the 2001 Seattle Mariners—neither of whom, by the way, went on to win the World Series in those amazing seasons. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies