It's doubtful the Phillies have caught the attention of fans around the country save those in New York, but there isn't any doubt they've caught the attention of baseball itself. Everywhere one turns, stories and comments abound regarding this team's heart and soul. Players, managers, commentators and writers are duly impressed with the Phillies refusal to die despite the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune, especially those aimed at the pitching staff.
Those major-league leading forty-eight come-from-behind victories have impressed the constituency most difficult to impress, the baseball brotherhood itself. (Yes, last night's win counts in that total since Washington jumped out to a 1-0 lead.) Words like "swagger", "indomitable", "grit", "heart" and the like are making their way into every story about this team. More than a few commentators have said this installment of the Phillies has more determination than any team since 1980. Yes, that's right, any team including the 1993 version. When your pitching staff is put together with spit and baling wire and a few key position players have spent some time on the DL, too, and you are very much in the hunt with nine games to go your effort gets noticed and appreciated.
These guys have been a lot of fun to watch in no small part because so many different players have contributed. As has been well-documented, this isn't just the Jimmy-Chase-Ryan show. Pat, Jayson, Greg, Aaron, Carlos and Shane have all had many moments in the spotlight. In the end a local fan only needs to know this about the 2007 Phillies and their late-season surge: none other than Bill Conlin has called for giving Charlie Manuel a two-year contract extension. Now that's an endorsement!