With today being New Years Eve, we wanted to take a final look back at 2013 and review some of the best and worst moments for the Phillies during the year. Considering how disappointing the 2013 season was, it was a lot easier to find bad moments, but there were some definite highlights mixed in as well.
Joining me in my efforts were fellow TBOH staff members Spencer Bingol and Emily Gruver.
John Mayberry is a Hero
John Mayberry is not especially well-liked by Phillies fans, but for one night, Mayberry was everybody’s favorite player.
On June 4th, Mayberry entered a game against the Marlins in the 10th inning as a pinch hitter. With the Phillies trailing by a run, Mayberry delivered a game-tying home run. He stayed in the game, and the following inning, he sent another pitch into the seats for a game-winning grand slam.
Phils Go Back-to-Back Against Chapman
Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman is an imposing figure. He regularly throws over 100 MPH, and is one of the best closers in the game. So when the Phillies entered the ninth trailing by a run on May 19th, their chances of victory didn’t seem too great. (They seemed even worse after pinch runner Cliff Lee got picked off base.)
We had been waiting years for it to happen. Since 2010 we had heard about how great Dom Brown was going to be. He was once rated as the best prospect in the minor leagues and was the guy who the Phillies absolutely refused to give up in a trade. But up until this season, Brown had never quite lived up to that billing. Whether it was due to injuries, management’s impatience, or difficulty adjusting to the major leagues, Brown had never shown more than sporadic flashes of brilliance.
In late May, it finally happened: Brown became the home run hitting force that we had been waiting for. On May 25th, Brown hit a home run. He hit another one two days later. For the next two weeks, he did almost nothing but hit home runs.
Ben Revere Makes a Catch
As famed Cleveland Indians color commentator Monte would likely describe the play: “Fly ball. Caught.”
Cliff Lee’s All-Star Death Stare
There were a few great moments for the Phillies in 2013. Here’s the thing though: none of those things really make me happy any more. They were wonderful at the time and great accomplishments for the players, but if I turn on those highlights now, it doesn’t elicit any reaction out of me. Not to be depressing, but it was a lost season, and on-the-field moments were kind of muddied by the context.
The only moment out of the entire stinkin’ season that I’ll still watch any day is Cliff Lee’s big middle finger to Citi Field at the All-Star Game. Something about that moment just gets the blood pumping, and is simultaneously hilarious and completely bad-ass.
Doc Hits Rock Bottom
0.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB, 16 Pitches
That’s no way for Roy Halladay to go out. Encapsulating the season in a moment, Roy Halladay was pulled from his final outing, against the freakin’ Marlins, after facing only three batters.
He’ll end up in the Hall of Fame, was the most dominant pitcher for a decade, and undeniably one of the most respected athletes in the game. For Phillies fans, he provided two particularly historic no-hitters, and two seasons of some of the most dominant pitching you’ll see.
He ended his career pitching with a broken back, drenched in sweat, and unable to pitch faster than 83 mph. It was incredibly hard to watch. Worst feeling of a bad season.
Heading into June, the common refrain was that Jonathan Papelbon might be overpaid, but at least he was one of the best closers in baseball. And then he began to blow saves - a lot of them. In a seven-day stretch, Papelbon blew four out of the five save opportunities he was presented with.
Papelbon blew seven saves total in the 2013 season. That would have been enough to turn the fan base against him, but combined with his immense salary and some unsupportive comments, Papelbon began to hear many boos during his home appearances.
Ryan Howard Goes Down…Again
When the Phillies signed Ryan Howard to that massive extension, they were right about one thing: Howard carries the Phillies offense. Unfortunately, an injured Howard hasn’t been able to do much carrying the past two seasons.
After struggling with a knee injury all year, on July 5th, Howard finally had to shut it down for the season. The Phillies had been treading water up until that point, but Howard’s trip to the disabled list made it obvious that 2013 was not going to be their year.
The End of the Road for Charlie
After over nine years at the helm, it became more and more obvious that Charlie Manuel‘s tenure as manager was coming to a close. Instead of letting him finish up a lost season, the Phillies decided to make the change in August: Manuel was out, and Ryne Sandberg was in. This was the most blatant sign yet that the Phillies amazing run of success was over.
From all of us here at That Ball’s Outta Here, we hope that your 2013 has been filled with good moments, and that your 2014 will be even better! Happy new year!