Monday, August 27, 2007

Phils show their true color

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

So those showers have been quite icy lately, as per my last article.

And since writing it, the Phillies – Sunday’s offensive outburst notwithstanding – had lost five of six, as well as the respect of many fans.

That’s because this weekend, they were shown up on their own turf.

First, an overreacting and childishly whiny Marcus Giles gets in the grill of Carlos Ruiz after his takeout slide. Ruiz not only stands down then, but also an inning later when Giles participates in a staredown and apparently says a few parting words at the plate.

Then, everybody’s least favorite board game, Milton Bradley, showboats after hitting a home run, then subsequently trashes the fans and later the stadium itself.

A fair response for any team and manager with a backbone is to whiz one at the batter. It happened. To Ruiz from the Padres staff, making their statement (which was pounded home with a 14-3 Saturday pounding) clear.

Like a bully who now gets his lunch money direct deposited by his smaller prey, the Padres came in with a bone to pick with their closest wild card rivals and entered Sunday with a cocky strut and – worse yet – no fear.

The Phillies, through all their injury excuses this season used to justify – and celebrate – any semblance of contention with its fanbase, had a chance to truly give them something to cheer about. They had a chance to show its heart by standing up for themselves and showing the gritty character we come to expect from a winner.

Instead, they showed their true colors – or more accurately, true color: Yellow.

Contending teams don’t turn the other cheek. They don’t play the nice guy role. They fight back. They go for the jugular.

This is especially integral in this town, where we’ve always embraced grit over glamour, substance over style, attitude over athleticism. The only bullies we know around here lived on Broad Street some 30-plus years ago.

It’s why the fans got so excited when the benches cleared Friday night, hoping that one swing of the fist could perhaps lead to a turnaround swing to the season. Or one pitch to the ribcage of a weasel like Giles or a bitter tool like Bradley. It’s why the anticlimactic letdown will be something we won’t soon forget.

That the coach nor players made a stink of things afterwards also speaks volumes. And trust that the Mets heard the nothing loud and clear.

It’s also safe to assume that they’re chomping at the bit to be the next in line to bitch slap the Phils come today.
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