Frank Fitzpatrick of the Inquirer has visited the future, and he comes back to us with a nightmarish vision of things to come.
It is years from now. The players are gone. The crowds are gone. Citizens Bank Park has become, as well suspected and feared, a haunted carnival. A monstrous Danys Baez lives somewhere underneath the ruins of the right field bleachers, terrorizing trespassers with his horrific tales what seemed at times to be truly endless inadequacies.
What has happened here, in the former home of joy, where red pinstripes once paraded down Broad Street, and the Phanatic tried to get us all to second base? What apocalypse of enthusiasm has brought us this bitter grey skyline, backdropping the shambles of a dynasty built on victory and open mockery?
The answer: A matter of time. If we’re not careful, Philly’s gonna get Cleveland’d.
“…it might be wise for the Phillies to heed the Indians’ cautionary tale, to learn from [Cleveland's] transformation from hot to ho-hum,” Fitzpatrick reported, dodging the hurled axe of a demented Danys Baez upon refusing to listen to his stories. Where he found the ax within the bowel of Citizens Bank Park is a mystery. My guess is it came from Roy Oswalt’s locker; in case of a forest ever being in his way.
Yes, Fitzpatrick’s journey brought him to a thorough conclusion: That the Phillies, though spectacular right now, may not be able to maintain such a level in success in the future. What that means is that we have reached the point in this era when people are beginning to realize that it won’t last forever. What that means is that one day the Phillies will suck. And what this all means is that filling column space on an off day is really sometimes a pain.
“Don’t be like Cleveland” is already the mantra hanging on Mayor’s Office walls across the country. It should be a no-brainer for sports franchises to not follow the city’s example. But you know what other franchise was good once, and then wasn’t anymore? All of them, in every sport, ever. I don’t look forward to the day we aren’t in playoff contention, but thankfully Bud Selig has resolved to not leave office until every team can make the post season whenever they want to, so that day may never come.
The important thing to remember here, folks, is that dominance is fleeting, unless you have tons of money, in which case everything will be fine. You’ll see. YOU’LL ALL SEE.
Who knows what happened to Fitzpatrick after his haunting glimpse into the future. Perhaps his time machine refused to start and he realized he had just been inadvertently engaged in a deadly game of wits with a snarling, ax-wielding Danys Baez within the ruins of CBP. Perhaps he returned to the present, vomited, and immediately abandoned his life to go live in the mountains and stockpile weapons for an inevitable Judgment Day. Perhaps he sent the column to his editor and went home to microwave some leftover beef stroganoff . However he achieved this unique view of a franchise in peril, let us thank him for making us aware of it before succumbing to his question mark of a fate.