Quantum Leaps?

The Spiderman Catch from Marlon Byrd was a true magic moment in baseball. Holding on for dear life, he struggled halfway up the centerfield wall to rob Andruw Jones of a homerun. But what did it really mean for the Phils to take a doubleheader from the Braves?

In the end, not a thing. It was a marvelous performance, solid defense, great pitching, and clutch hitting. In short, it looked more like the A's, or the Twins, or the Bosox traded uniforms with them. Especially the A's. It looked like the A's left town after dropping two the the Sox and decided to play a double header for the Phillies. Maybe they still loved the old Athletics stomping grounds. Maybe they just wanted to play a team worse than Boston. Whatever happened, the A's did not show up at Oakland (sorry, Network Associates) Coliseum Wednesday night. It must have been the Phillies. And those Phanatics weren't playing the Braves last night. It must have been those A's.

But seriously, this is what the Phils were supposed to be, from day one of spring training. There were people talking about a Phillies World Series. These games in mid August could have been the second most exciting series all year, to the Yanks and Sox in mid August. It could have been the battle of the NL East. It could have been a clash of dynasties; one in the twilight of its reign, the other hungry and raw, ready to turn the baseball world on its head. I don't pretend to know what went wrong. It reminds me of a line that is credited to no one in particular:

"We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time."

The Phillies are out of time. They were weeks ago. I can't fathom how the Braves are running away with the division. There's only one thing I can say. It's a shame for all of us that they didn't pull it together. Then these games could have been dramatic, even profound, instead of a spectacle and a reminder of what could have been.

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