Ron Costello

Saturday, September 15, 2018

In the late 15th century conventional wisdom said the best way to reach India, China, and Japan — called the West Indies at the time — was to sail south and then east, around Africa.

But an Italian explorer bucked the conventional wisdom and said he could do it by sailing west, across the Western Ocean, later called the Atlantic Ocean.
Did the Phillies follow the pigeons?

Three-quarters of the way there, Christopher Columbus — heading straight toward the Georgia/Florida coastline, choose to follow a flock of terns flying south. As you well know, if you paid attention in school, Columbus sailed into the Caribbean.

Did the Phillies see a  flock of birds and follow them? 

On July 25th the Phillies held a game and a half lead over Atlanta in the NL East. Their young prospects got them to that point.

Hitting, pitching, hustling — and sure, making lots of mistakes — and the guidance of veterans Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta got them there.

Over the last week of July, the club decided it didn't have enough to take the division and went outside the box. Before the trade deadline, the club acquired several players to help carry them through August and September.

This team needs veterans, it said.

You know the rest. The starting pitching after Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta folded like a lawn chair, and several position players went into slumps. I mean, it happens.
The Phillies gave up on the young players like Rhys Hoskins.

Is there a connection? A connection between acquiring the outside players and a sudden nosedive to 7 and a half games back?

Look, here's the thing. The team that carried the Phillies to first place was torn apart and replaced with older, "more experienced" players.

I'd like to know who decided to bring in the older players over the kids that put them in first place — in the first place.

The organization gave up on the team, simple as that.

Suddenly, Asdrúbal Cabrara, 32, is playing short instead of Scott Kingery or J.P. Crawford. Wilson Ramos, 31, catching instead of Jorge Alfaro or Andrew Knapp, and Justin Bour pinch-hitting instead of Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr, Jorge Alfaro, Andrew Knapp or Mitch Walding.

And, here's the head scratcher, José Bautista, 37, playing right, instead of Roman Quinn, Nick Williams, or Aaron Altherr.

They tore the team apart and followed the birds.

Somebody screwed up. Was it manager Gab Kapler, GM Matt Klentak, or VP Andy MacPhail? Or a stupidity- combination-decision? The Phillies are good at making those.

Why the hell did the Phillies change course on the high seas just two months short of the harbor and sail south instead of sticking to the direction they started out on, March 31?


Thirty-seven year old José Bautista in right? Your kidding, right?
Perhaps the tired and inexperienced young players relaxed after the veterans arrived on or after July 31. Maybe they left the heavy work up to the veterans.

Young players will do that. Anybody will do that. The pressure was off them and put on the older veterans.

If the Phillies don't reach the postseason it's not the player's fault; it's management's.

The least management could do now is go back to playing the team that got them to the top and keep Cabrera, Ramos, Bour, and Bautista on the bench — where they belong.

But that makes too much sense.

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