After the Philadelphia Phillies' 2023 season ended abruptly in the NLCS, many fans of the team felt that the season was over prematurely. The club made the playoffs for the second year in a row and defeated two divisional foes — the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves — in the first two playoff rounds. On paper, the Phillies were favorites to represent the National League for the second consecutive year. As fate would have it, they did not.
Luckily for Phillies fans, all of those emotions can be brought back to life by watching the team's newly released "Brotherly Love: The 2023 Phillies Video Yearbook."
Fair warning: the end of the video is not fun to watch if you suffered sports-induced emotional distress around the time of Oct. 24. What is important to remember is that from about June 2 until the middle of October, the 2023 Phillies were a really fun team to watch.
Overall, the video was done pretty well. Trea Turner narrated the show with less exuberance than one might prefer, but there were some aspects that made it different from other years' productions. They interviewed players at Spring Training and used some of those to highlight the excitement leading up to the season after the 2022 World Series run.
Re-living the ups and downs of 2023
There was no mincing of words when referring to down points in the season. The opening two series in Texas and New York that saw the Phillies begin the season with a 1-5 record were highlighted. The team's rough stretches in May and Turner's struggles were chronicled. Perhaps the most disheartening part of the video was the rehashing of Rhys Hoskins' season-ending injury in Spring Training.
What many may forget after the way the season ended was that there were many high points in the season too. Matt Strahm being versatile as a starter and reliever, Jeff Hoffman getting his chance with the Phillies due to a Bryce Harper comment, and Harper returning early from Tommy John surgery to have the season he had were all positive highlights.
The standing ovation for Turner and the Michael Lorenzen no-hitter were some of the emotional highlights that were emphasized in the video.
One of the biggest takeaways from the video yearbook was how tight-knit the clubhouse really was. Kyle Schwarber alluded to the fact that everyone on the team genuinely likes each other. It's evident in the postgame celebrations in the regular season and the postseason that this group of players was close.
So, while the 2023 season may not have ended the way the organization, the players, or the fans wanted it to, it was quite a ride. There were many memorable moments — some good and some bad. Baseball is a long season with ebbs and flows, unlike many other sports.
Heading into 2024, we are sure to see some of the same. The roster will be very similar to the 2023 club, and that's fine. It gives this close bunch of players a chance to run it back.