For nearly sixty years I've noticed an inverse correlation between Spring Training fortunes and Regular Season success. (Don't ask me to provide the data because I can't. This conclusion is strictly a hunch.) If a team stinks down south in Feb and March, my reasoning goes, they will smell as sweet as a rose up north April through October.
All of which means your 2014 Phillies should be playing post-season baseball.
Of course, there are exceptions to the "rule" and the bet here is your 2014 Phillies will qualify on that score.
The Phillies don't look like they can pitch, hit or field as well as a number of teams in their own division not to mention league.
In no particular order we are being treated to:
1. The now annual Cole Hamels won't be ready for the start of the season warnings;
2. The question of who will start in the middle let alone back of the rotation;
3. Can Ryan Howard hit lefties;
4. Can Ryan Howard hit righties, for that matter;
5. Is this the year Jimmy Rollins' fielding follows his bat down hill;
6. Can these guys catch the ball; and,
7. Will Ruben Amaro survive the year?
There are lots of other questions at nearly every position. The Phillies don't have a Mike Trout, who you pen into a spot in the batting order and don't think about it for the rest of the year. Everyone is suspect in this lineup for one reason or another. Heck, even the broadcasters are suspect!
Fourth in the division...at best.
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The newspapers have been full of stories wondering aloud if the Sixers' alleged brain trust really has a plan to turn things around and, if so, is it going to work.
I certainly don't know...nor, really, do I much care. Professional basketball is a boring game on a good night. What is clear to me is that while this process unfolds (or implodes), the Sixers are such a miserable assortment that there is little wonder no one is turning out to watch them. Heck, even the players can't stand to watch. Those players fortunate enough to be traded couldn't wait to depart. None has publicly trashed the team upon arrival at his new destination, but, then, what would be the point? Everyone knows they are pitiful.
I have to laugh a the notion they may deliberately tank to get a better lottery pick position. Tank? Deliberately? That would suggest the Sixers have options.
You have to hand it to the former and current owners and coaches of the team. This sorry excuse for a professional sports franchise didn't burgeon over night. It took years of ineptitude to run the Sixers into the ground.