Today is opening day in Baseball, but it’s also opening night in the land of Westeros. If you have no idea what I’m talking about this might be a longer read for you than traveling the Kings Road. Season 3 of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones airs tonight, ending nearly 9 months of feverish waiting by it’s fans (including yours truly). The crossover hit has inspired many in the sports world to relate the trials and tribulations of it’s characters to the NBA and MLB. The baseball edition done at SI related the main family houses of GOT to several teams but left out our Phillies. Well, I couldn’t just sit by and let the guys at Grantland and SI have all the fun.
Before any new season, both Baseball and hit HBO drama, it’s important to recap how the characters have gotten to where they are. The Phillies had reined over the east for five years, defending their crown with fire and power. But, like all great powers throughout history the seeds of their demise were sown from within. Injuries sapped star players of their power, and allowed the usurpers in DC to steal the thrown from them.
Now the Phillies finds themselves poised to regain their rightful place at the top of the NL East. As a team comparison, the Phils resemble Daenarys Targaryen and her rag tag group of Dothraki. Daenarys has the rightful claim to the throne as the last living heir to Aerys Targaryen, who was slain by Jamie “Kingslayer” Lannister. As an aside, is there a more appropriate fit for the Kingslayer than Bryce Harper? Harper is a young hotshot who’s name is know across baseball as the next great hitter. He’s got swagger about his game that rubs people the wrong way, unless of course your a Nats fan. Jaime Lannister is the eldest son of Tywin Lannister, famous for his work with a sword and infamous for his backstabbing of the late King Aerys. There is obviously no love lost between Harper and the Phillies, with Cole Hamels drilling him in the back last summer, but I digress.
Daenarys Targaryen most important asset is her three dragons. While she doesn’t command a huge army (yet) she does possess the only three dragons known to the world. The Phillies are not the deepest team in the league, but they are anchored by their three aces, Hamels, Halladay, and Lee. It’s on the backs of these three beasts that the Phillies success will hinge upon. Given Halladay’s recent struggles, and shoulder woes, he may not seem very dragon-like at the moment. His fire will have to be preserved and saved for the right moments as the season goes on.
For Chase Utley his GOT doppelganger belongs to house Stark. Bran Stark loses the use of his legs after he is pushed off a ledge by Jamie Lannister (Harper!). Chase was never a player to know any limitations until he developed chronic knee pain that has altered his career forever. Bran however learns to cope without the use of his legs, and develops strong leadership with his brother off at war (not to mention the ability to inhabit his direwolf when he sleeps). Utley doesn’t have any magical powers, but he is an unquestioned leader on the Phils, and has retooled his game to compensate for his physical limitations.
I struggled with Ryan Howard, mostly because it seems unfair to stick him with Hodor. Just because the Big Piece is a giant of a man doesn’t mean he’s the oaf of the crew. Although, couldn’t you picture Howard carrying Utley on his back during warm ups and only saying “Howard”.
Charlie Manuel would certainly be a part of the Maester’s guild. They are religious leaders, but also possess infinite knowledge. Tell me who knows more about hitting than Charlie. The Maester’s chain of hitting would have to have a link for contact, power, sacrificing, hitting the other way, and switch hitting. The guild is bound to serve the leaders of the house, no matter who holds power. Myster Lewin (Spoiler Alert) is served a rotten fate when he is stabbed by the invading iron men, but then he never had to manage a team without a contract extension.
The Phillies long journey to reclaim greatness will be just as long if not harder than that of the competing factions in GOT. They are old, thin in the ranks, and possess no fire breathing dragons. But, anyone who follows the ongoing battle for the throne of Westeros knows, no one is ever safe. The Nationals may feel good heading into the season, but it’s much harder to defend the crown than to take it by force.