The party line is to put the opening series sweep behind them and concentrate on winning in Miami this weekend. Frankly, I'm waiting for the inevitable comments about the pressures of playing in Philadelphia. When they come, I'll turn a deaf ear. The good citizenry of Philadelphia, more than eager to embrace this Phillies team, was very excited about the coming season. If that's too much pressure for some of the players, they are in the wrong business, not the wrong city.
If we choose to point fingers at this early juncture, let's put the right folks on the target range. Pat Gillick has done a miserable job of preparing this team for 2007. Looking back over his comments from last year, we should have known this was coming. Gillick wrote off 2007 in public utterances in 2006 but most people chose not to believe him. The Phillies' surprising stretch run after the July trade deadline must have further convinced us if not him the Phils were close to being a playoff team. Yet, fully aware of the team's major weaknesses, Gillick did nothing to correct them in the six months that followed. Why? One possible explanation is that Gillick's heart isn't in the job. The near-absentee GM spends more time away from town than in it. From the day he was hired he made it clear to those paying attention he wasn't going to be in the job that long. He seems resistant to the more modern aspects of the business -- sabremetrics -- and at the same time very bound up by ties to old teams and personnel. It wouldn't be unfair to say the game has begun to pass him by.
The help they need is not around the corner. It isn't in the farm system. It's unlikely it will come in a trade with some other team. Don't count on the waiver wire. And it most definitely doesn't reside on the 40-man roster.
Gillick built it. The fans came. The team went nowhere.