Connect The Dots...What, Me Worry?

It is a rite of passage among Phillies fans. Grandfathers give it to fathers who pass it on to their sons...and so on and so on. It's the gift of worrying about your favorite team, the loveable, often laughable Philadelphia Phillies. To be a Phillie fan is to worry. In fact, being a Phillies fan means never having to say you're sorry for worrying.

It was probably not coincidence that the Phils acquired the distinguished Dale Murphy to finish his career as an indistinguishable Phillie.....Murphy's Law was made for the Phillies. A cursory glance at the 2003 edition should give you reason to relax a bit. They are off to a solid start, hanging around the top of the Eastern Divison, and figure to be a force to be reckoned with all summer. In fact, other than the Yankees - and Royals? - who never lose, the Phils are hanging pretty well with the big boys this April. Phillie fans should be rejoicing and counting their blessings after so many false starts, and privately they may be. But outwardly, its just not in a Phillie fans dictionary to be optimistic. There have been too many coals in the stockings for that. And besides, to invite optimism is to invite the wrath of the baseball gods....and Phillie fans have a hard enough time getting a break without doing that. Even in this spring of our content we will find things to worry about. Want some examples? Here are a few! Phillie fans worry that acquiring another outstanding pitcher might mean having too many ace pitchers on the staff. No fooling! It seems that fans worry that Kevin Millwood, who has adorned the ace crown with aplomb and dignity, might be uncomfortable having another ace on the staff...as if a team like the Yankees worry about this. Whereas the Yankees can't wait to have an ace of the day club - Mussina, Clemens, Petitte, Wells - we Phillies fans worry that 2 is 1 too many! Fair enough..but in my book having too much talent is never a sin! Which leads me to my next example of Phillie fan fodder....the case of the suddenly stockpiled middle infielders. Most teams are happy with two solid infielders, the Phils are seemingly blessed with 4....All-Star Jimmy Rollins, solid Placido Polanco, top prospect Chase Utley - he of grand slam fame - and Davy Concepcion clone, Anderson Machado. However, instead of dancing in the streets with joy over these untold richs, Phillie fans worry about trading the wrong one....an endless and as of now, fruitless debate. But it certainly is cause for worry! Need any more examples...here are a few more! We Phillie fans worry about Abreu being too big, Polanco being too small, Myers not missing enough bats (as in swings and misses).....Wolf missing too many bats (as in high pitch counts).....Burrell not hitting well(it will never end!).....Lieberthal hitting too well (it can't last!), Silva's inability to get out righties, Plesac's inability to get out lefties, Thome hitting too many triples....and not enough homers, Rollins hitting too many homers and not enough triples, Pratt playing too much in the spring and not enough in the summer, Bell not tolling, Byrd not flying, and Mesa not saving!! And this is in the good times! Ah, but thats what makes being a Philadelphia Phillies fan such a uniquely rewarding experience, trying to decide what to worry about next can be an exhilarating experience. However, let me warn you.....if the Phils keep playing the way they have so far this season we may have nothing to worry about till the playoffs come in October. And, frankly.....that worries me!

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