Giving Thanks to the Phillies

On Thursday, many families will crowd around the dinner table and give thanks for all of the wonderful things in their life. Some are in good or improved health, others have recently found employment or received a promotion, still more have found love. Me, I’ll be giving thanks for the grown men who run around in pajamas chasing a spherical object for seven months out of the year. Join me, won’t you?

I am thankful for Chase Utley. He has never finished higher than seventh in MVP voting though he has certainly deserved a top-three finish on one or two occasions (especially in 2008, when he finished with 9.0 WAR, per Baseball Reference). He was the best player at his position for a solid five-year stretch from 2005-09, doing everything a baseball player needs to do: hit for average, hit for power, steal bases, and play sterling defense. Even as he’s a few weeks from turning 35 years old in the twilight of his career, he is still a very productive player. He’s a once-in-a-generation player and I’m thankful he’ll be wearing a Phillies uniform for at least a couple more years.

I am thankful for Cliff Lee. Whether he’s straight up dominating the opposition like he did on May 6, 2011 against the Braves — when he struck out 16 batters and walked one in seven innings of work — or providing us a reason to make a .gif like he did against the Reds …

… he’s giving us a reason to watch this otherwise putrid, poorly cobbled-together team. And as much as we bemoan lengthy, expensive contracts, his has actually worked out thus far. The Phillies signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010. In the three seasons since, he’s posted a 2.80 ERA over 93 starts spanning 666.1 innings, striking out 667 and walking just 102.

I am thankful for Cole Hamels. Hamels is really the last Phillies draft pick to have blossomed into a superstar. Taken in the first round — 17th overall — in the 2002 draft, Hamels worked his way into becoming one of the three best left-handed starters in baseball. He the biggest reason why the Phillies won the World Series in 2008 despite waltzing into the post-season with a rotation that included Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, and Joe Blanton.

I am thankful for Domonic Brown. His time in Philadelphia has been tumultuous, but when he broke out in May 2013 …

… he wrapped up a corner outfield job for himself. Fans stopped calling him a “bust” and begging GM Ruben Amaro to trade him — at least until Brown posted a photo of himself wearing Dallas Cowboys paraphernalia on Instagram. Thanks, Dom, for doing the two things I enjoy seeing the most: hitting dingers, and riling up Eagles fans.

I am thankful for Ben Revere, for doing this …

… and also for hitting .347 between May 1 and when he was injured on July 13.

I am thankful for Carlos Ruiz for being a solution for the Phillies’ otherwise depressing catching situation.

I am thankful for Jake Diekman because mid-90’s fastballs from a lefty are sexy. Ask Aroldis Chapman.

I am thankful for the Phillies’ 10 walk-off hits providing a reason to watch even long after they had been realistically eliminated from post-season contention.

I am thankful for finding $1 seats at Citizens Bank Park on StubHub because some fans will only support a perennial winner. And I’m thankful for Dollar Dog Nights, too.

Now, let us pray.

Happy Thanksgiving, you guys.

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8 comments

  1. Evan

    November 26, 2013 08:20 AM

    Thanks Bill and the rest of the Crashburn gang for everything that you do with this site. It’s much appreciated and here is to being optimistic and looking forward to good things on the horizon.

  2. TomG

    November 26, 2013 08:43 AM

    I’m thankful for Kevin Frandsen for that walk-off double he hit against the Royals this year. I was at that game and, because my son is a never-say-die type, we stayed till the end and saw it live. Kinda felt bad for those who left after the 8th. And there were many who did.

    The previous year, we were at a game where Chooch hit a bases clearing 3-run double to tie it in the 8th against the Brewers. (Pence won it with a typically awwwwwwkwaaarrrrrd Pence bloop single to right that scored Chooch.)

    To tie these two together, I’m thankful that, even when the Phillies ain’t all that good, they can still provide the kind of excitement that can make you forget third- and fourth-pace finishes, if for only one night.

    I’m also thankful for the guys you already listed above.

    And although Jimmy may have lost all of his power last year and Ryan’s contract may be an albatross around the neck of the whole team, I’m thankful for what those two gave us over the past decade or so. They were an integral part of 2008 and nobody can take that away from them or us.

  3. Bubba0101

    November 26, 2013 08:45 AM

    Im grateful for Crashburnalley. Without it I wouldn’t know my head from a hole in the ground when it comes to advanced Phillies metrics and gradings on our lesser known prospects. Both of those things get me excited. Amen.

  4. jonny 5

    November 26, 2013 09:16 AM

    I’m thankful that there’s a Phillies based website that isn’t just a local sports version of TMZ. Now please pass the gravy.

  5. Rick

    November 26, 2013 10:47 AM

    AMEN!!!

  6. yizzit

    November 27, 2013 09:39 AM

    Bill,

    You may have just single-handedly talked me into re-upping my Extra Innings for a 65-75 win team. Damn you (I can’t NOT watch Lee, Utley, Hamels, and to see if Dom is for real)

  7. TurkeyPig

    November 27, 2013 05:08 PM

    I am grateful for the major league flavor of Godshall’s turkey bacon!

  8. chongtastic

    December 01, 2013 09:38 PM

    I am thankful for all the work produced by the Crashburn staff, the Crashbag, the amusement provided by the Crashburn staff on Twitter and Bill’s occasional StarCraft tweet/stream.

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