We owe you one. We owe you…ONE [holding up finger]
—Dr. J., Julius Erving, presenting the 76ers promise to the Philly fans in a TV commercial after Sixers loss to the Trailblazers in the 1976-77 NBA Finals
Yes We Can
—Team rallying cry coined by second baseman Dave Cash in 1974, before leaving for Montreal as a free agent
Corrales a pennant
—1982 Phils slogan referring to manager Pat Corrales who was fired before they went to the Series the next season thereby never "corralling" a single thing for the team
You Gotta Believe
—Slogan Phils copped from Mets for the 1980 World Series by Tug McGraw, who then turned around and told New York that they could "take this championship and shove it."
Now is the Time
—2004 Phillies slogan, a team whose only in-season roster change so far during the season has been to sign 36-year-old journeyman and Devil Ray-rejectee Paul Abbott (currently 1-5 with a 6.23 ERA in 9 starts)
Well, I'll tell you what happened: I just ran out of BS…
All I know is, you've got to get mad…I want you to get mad. I don't want you to protest, I don't want you to riot, I don't want you to write to your congressman…All I know is that first... You've got to get mad.
I want you to go to the window, open it, stick your head out and yell: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore."
—Peter Finch in "Network"
What the f' happened to the Delta I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Wormer, he's a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer...
—Senator John "Bluto" Blutarsky, "Animal House"
F' Casper Gomez and F' the F'ing Diaz brothers. F'em all. I bury those cock-a-roaches.
Skip: You guys. You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!
Skip: Lollygaggers. (shaking head in shame)
Today [actually yesterday] is a day that will live in infamy
—Franklin D. Roosevelt named for the FDR Drive
That's it man. Game over, man! Game over!… In case you haven't been paying attention to current events, we just got our asses kicked, pal!
—Bill Paxton as Hudson in "Aliens"
We should be embarrassed. I’m the manager. I’m not even playing and I’m embarrassed.
—Phils manager Larry Bowa after their 12th straight loss in Miami
I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!
Looks like I've picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.
—Lloyd "Quien es mas macho?" Bridges in Airplane
On June 17, 1992 the Philadelphia 76ers traded their best player and seven-year veteran Charles Barkley to the Phoenix Suns for Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry, and Andrew Lang. Barkley would earn MVP honors as he led the Suns to the finals.
The Sixers saying that Barkley would not fit in then-new coach Doug Moe's offensive scheme, proceeded to draft Clarence Weatherspoon from Southern Mississippi in the first round of the NBA draft. Weatherspoon was nicknamed the "Baby Barkley" for the way his game resembled that of Sir Charles.
Doug Moe lasted less than a season and was fired with a 19-37 record. The team finished no higher than sixth in their division every season until 19976-98. 1995-96 was the sixth straight season in which their losses increased (they were 18-64). The Sixers wouldn't make the playoffs again until 1998-99, led by Allen Iverson.
I officially dropped my allegiance to the team when they duplicitously drafted Weatherspoon after dropping Barkley. I vowed never to follow the team until owner Harold Katz sold the team. In 1996 he did: he sold the Sixers to Comcast and Pat Croce, the team's former physical therapist, was named president. When I dropped my 76er alliance, I decided to follow Sir Charles, my favorite player at the time, to the Suns. I became a Suns fan but was mostly a Barkley fan. However, when he went from Phoenix to Houston, a team I never much cared for, and the Sixers changed ownership, I returned to the fold, reluctantly but triumphantly.
I got to experience a team being rebuilt into the best team in the East, and it was quite enjoyable. The Sixers were again a one-star team (Iverson), as they had been (at most) since their 1982-83 championship team, which was led by two, Dr. J and Moses Malone. That star, Iverson, again was a bad boy type who spoke his mind and had unpopular opinions (like Barkley). Given that the team faded after their sole appearance in the finals and especially after former coach Larry Brown led the Pistons to an NBA championship, it became imperative, according to the majority of fans and members of the media, that Iverson go since he reportedly did not fit into future…Everything old is new again.
Philadelphia is a second-tier sports city. Its mediocrity bespeaks its inferiority complex due to its close proximity to New York. No Philadelphia team has won a championship since the Jim Mora-led Philadelphia Stars of the USFL won the league championship in 1984. They moved to Baltimore in 1985 and won the last USFL championship that year.
The Sixers last won a championship in the 1982-83 season. The Phillies won the only championship in their 121-year history in 1980. The Flyers last won the Stanley Cup in the 1974-75 season and have lost in the finals five times since. The Eagles have not won an NFL championship since the advent of the Super Bowl, their last championship coming in 1960. They have lost the last three National Football Conference Championships, the last step before the Super Bowl, in a row. They made one appearance in a Super Bowl losing 27-10 to Oakland, a team they beaten handily earlier in the season, in Super Bowl XV (1980). As far as Philly dynasties, the Flyers won two Stanley Cups in 1973-74 and 1974-75 and the Eagles won two NFL championships in a row 1948-49. Then there are the A's who won in 1910-11 and 1929-30, but in between they were historically bad and they have since left for greener pastures. That's it. No other Philadelphia franchise has ever won two championships in a row. How pathetic is that?
Baseball teams in Boston and Chicago claim to be cursed. The New England Patriots just won their second Super Bowl in three years. The Celtics were a basketball dynasty for decades. Chicago saw Michael Jordan lead their Bulls to six NBA championships. Their Bears are one of the more storied teams in the NFL. Chicago and Boston fans are a bunch of mewling pansies.
Do you want to know what a curse is? I'll tell you. It's living in a city whose sports champions in recent memory can be counted on one hand. That's what. In the last 25 years, Philadelphia has one World Series champion, one NBA champion, and one USFL champion. That's it. In the last twenty, they have none. The Phillies best known team, the Whiz Kids, lost the World Series in four straight. That team would not finish above fourth place again until 1964, the year they were 6-1/2 games ahead with twelve games to play but lost ten games in a row to fall out of first into a tie for second, one game back, one of the greatest collapses in baseball history. "Ooh, a fan interfered with a ball and then we lost the seventh game of the league championship series." "Oh, my star pitcher stayed in the ballgame too long and we lost the seventh game of the ALCS". "Oh, boo hoo." They couldn't take one season steeped in the Steve Jeltz-laden abyss that is the Philly sports world.
So what am I yammering on about? Yesterday, the Phils lost their 14th straight road game in a row against their NL East rivals and current World Series champs, the Marlins. They now stand two games over .500, 3-1/2 games behind division-leading Atlanta.
The way that they lost the last game speaks volumes about this team: 10-1 with their sole mid-season acquisition Paul Abbott giving up eight runs in three innings and taking the loss. The only run in the game came when on hits by two utility players (Tomas Perez and Todd Pratt). They were outscored 32-9 in the four-game series. Abbott's 10-1 game four loss and flailing erstwhile number one starter, Millwood's 11-3 loss in game one book-ended the series nicely. This series opened a 13-game road trip for the Phils. They don’t play another divisional rival until the Braves come to town on August 31.
After the series, the media were circling the clubhouse awaiting manager Larry Bowa's dismissal. Bowa has been on the hot seat all season. Rumors of the Phils acquiring center fielder Steve Finley and pitcher Kris Benson have cooled as the trade "deadline" approaches this weekend. [Benson has since been traded to the Mets.]
Repeat After Me…
The Phils have arguably the worst manager in baseball, they haven't had a credible center fielder since Bowa gaslighted Marlon Byrd out of Philadelphia, and their starting rotation, which was a collection of number two and three starters with potential, has become the sum of its liabilities and is devolving into chaos. And yet none of those is the Phils' biggest problem.
The Phils entered the season as the popular favorites to win the division. Phils management, which had historically, to quote Johnny Sack on The Sopranos, treated nickels like manhole covers, had finally opened the coffers as they prepared to move into the new stadium. They acquired Jim Thome, David Bell, Kevin Millwood, Billy Wagner, and Eric Milton and re-signed Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell to big contracts.
That was great.
Then they opened the stadium, the fans came, and management went back in their holes. They've made their money and obviously don't care whether the Phils remain competitive or not, as long as it doesn't affect their bottom line.
So what can we do as average fans?
We can affect their bottom line.
Boycott the team. Don't buy tickets to future games at the new ballpark. If you already have tickets, don’t use them, don't show up at the park. Don't eat at their concession stands or park in their parking lots. I love Harry Kalas, but I'm saying that we should not even watch them on TV.
Just ignore them.
Until they comply with our demands. What demands?
First, enough is enough: Bowa should go. That's basically a given.
However, that's no the be-all end-all. I thought Joe Kerrigan would be a great addition when he was hired as pitching coach, but his tenure has been as total and complete failure and the situation in each of the last two seasons has rapidly deteriorated. His welcome is well worn out. Bye bye.
Management has to get the players they need. They need a starting pitcher and a center fielder minimum. They have some completely superfluous players that are still valuable. Ryan Howard is languishing in the minors. It is highly unlikely that he will even be a useful player to this team. Trade him. They have two competent second basemen, Placido Polanco and Chase Utley. Utley is younger and has more power and potential. I like Polanco, but he's completely unnecessary. Get rid of him.
Until and unless they make all of these moves, this team won't compete. That's fine, but we don't have go along for the ride.
This team has too much talent not to win this division. The Braves on paper should not win this division. But they don't play the games on paper. The Braves still have the infrastructure that helped them win eleven division crowns. If you gave John Schuerholz, Bobby Cox, and Leo Mazzone this team, they would be ten games up right now.