I've done my fair share of criticizing the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. But, after the way the last few seasons have brought the Phils close to the playoffs, only to come up short -- usually being eliminated in the last week of the year -- it's easy to see how I could have been so negative.
Friday night, the Phillies took the lead in the division for the first time this year, following Cole Hamels' brilliant pitching performance -- and yet another Mets loss -- but I didn't do a post about it because I still had that sinking feeling that they would relinquish that lead over the weekend.
Sure enough, after Saturday's games, the Mets and Phils were tied once again.
But, wouldn't you know it, this year apparently is different. The Phils actually pulled it off. They didn't choke, they didn't wilt under the pressure, they didn't repeat the close calls and near misses of recent years. The Phils caught, and passed the Mets, and won the NL East.
It couldn't have happened any better. Having the Mets blow a 7 game lead with just 17 games to go is such a wonderful development. Jimmy Rollins -- who may have secured the MVP award on Sunday -- said back in January that the Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East, and he and the Phils backed that up. Sure, the Mets played horrible baseball down the stretch, but it took a 13-4 finish by the Phillies to complete the comeback.
Muck the Fets, indeed.
Who knows, maybe this will be the year that the Phillies not only reach the playoffs, but win the whole damn thing. Of course, they could just as easily get swept out of the first round and have their season over by the weekend.
I'm sure that once the playoffs begin, my feelings may change, but, for now, just the fact that they were able to clinch at home, in front of 44,000 rabid, hungry fans, finishing off a truly amazing comeback against a hated rival has made this upcoming postseason gravy.
The Phillies have already won.
Ahh, who am I kidding? Go out and win the whole damn thing.
Just don't get bounced by the Cubs.