Mariners Analysis

Friday, October 24, 2008

Phillies and the media

I've already written it's pretty hard to not consider the Rays the prohibitive favorite to win the Series. Of course I add it would hardly be shocking if Philadelphia wins, as the nature of sports is part unpredictability, but the Rays are still the best team from the best league with home field advantage when we started. It's their Series to lose.

But of course the media doesn't like to deal with reality, when instead cliches are so much more fun. Instead of writing "Phillies wrestle home field advantage from AL champs" or "Surprising Phillies play tough in Series" we get something like:

The Phillies, Suddenly Futile -- NYT
Phils suffer from poor RISP management -- espn
Phillies are the definition of a tight ballclub -- The Philadelphia Enquirer

The underdog team has played the 97 win AL East champions in two games scoring 5 runs while giving up 6 on the road. They have the best starting pitcher (Hamels) available for two more games, and have home field advantage.

But instead, we hear about all the negative play the Phillies have shown in splitting the Series. Why?

Because to the vast majority of sports writers, the Phillies are the experienced team losing the series, as opposed to the more talented Rays winning. It's easier to focus on the lack of timely hitting by the Phillies than to admit the Tampa club is more than "plucky" or "happy to be here" or "we sure never saw this Tampa club as this good"

East coast bias? Veteran team bias? Hatred for anything Florida after the election fiasco?

Who knows. But I can certainly say something is wrong. The media and fans who picked Philadelphia should be incredibly happy... the team was a hit or two away from having a commanding 2-0 lead and still has home field advantage.

But listening to most writers who should know better, the Phillies are the choking team who put all those base runners on board but had the audacity to let the Rays win a game.

I say let's enjoy the Series and keep things in perspective. The Rays should win, the Phillies might win and have put themselves in a great position after two games. To argue otherwise says more about the writer than what goes on the field.