CD's Connect the Dots... I Believe

Far be it from me to be the bearer of bad news, even as I hear the gnashing of teeth from Phillie fans along the eastern seaboard of Philadelphia all the way down to Clearwater. Yet, after another dismal performance in what has proven to be a thoroughly forgettable spring training, I decided to take a short drive to clear my thoughts, in preparation for my final article before opening day. It was then that I had a musical epiphany, one that inspired this article. Enjoy!

When the mood strikes, and after yet another Phillie spring defeat, the mood struck… I dialed in a radio station that specializes in Oldies but Goodies! Ok, maybe it should be extreme oldies, but goodies. Ah, but I digress. Blaring from the radio waves was a popular song from the oh! so distant past, a song made famous by Frankie Laine.

The song, entitled "I Believe", was my inspiration for this latest round of grasping at any straws I can hold on to. Admittedly, those straws are disappearing quickly. However, refusing to be deterred, and properly motivated by the lyrics first crooned by Laine in the early 60's, I, too, believe.

If Laine believes that "for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows", then I believe that for every spring training loss, a character forms. Yes, that's it, these losses are building character, the kind that will withstand the April showers, and June swoon, and the dog days of August. I believe it!

I believe for every home run allowed by starters Brett Myers, Kevin Millwood and Eric Milton this spring, an accompanying flurry of strikeouts will follow once the regular season begins. I believe it was just those nasty Florida wind bursts that pushed normal fly balls over the fences… way over.

I also believe that the only reason that our players weren't hitting an equal number of four baggers was that the winds would mysteriously shift every half inning. Thus, our towering drives became warning track fly balls due to the shifting Florida breezes. I believe it!

I believe for every injury suffered by one of our players this spring, an equal amount of good health will smile our way once the "real season" begins. For every David Bell mishap will come equal parts good fortune for Placido Polanco and Chase Utley.

For every Billy Wagner and Jim Thome finger injury this spring will come only glancing foul balls off the gloves of backstops Mike Lieberthal, Todd Pratt and AJ Hinch. I believe this is certain to increase cost on replacement catcher's equipment, but save on the catcher's trips to the disabled list. I believe it!

I believe for every failed bunt by shortstop Jimmy Rollins this spring will come a similar number of doubles and triples this season. Rollins needn't worry about bunting, he is much too talented a gap hitter, and besides, he doesn't do it very well. That, I believe.

I believe for every March bullpen failure will come summer saves in July, August and September. Forget the concern by alarmists about the combined ages of Tim Worrell and Roberto Hernandez; they will pay off in almost as many solid relief performances beginning next week. This, too, I believe!

Frankie Laine sings, "Somewhere in the darkest night, a candle glows." I believe that the candle glows brightest for Jim Thome, a star shining bright if ever a Phillie player did in the midst of the gloom. In Thome, we can hang our hat, and I believe he will keep the candle glowing all summer and lead us home to glory and triumph. I believe it!

The songs speaks that "for everyone who goes astray, someone will come to show the way" and this sound so much like the relationship built between erstwhile slugger Pat Burrell and hitting guru, Charlie Manuel. If ever a player lost his way, it was the 2003 version of Burrell.

Yet, Manuel, through his patience and guidance, seems to have shown Burrell the way, and the sleek 2002 model has reappeared on our showroom floor. I think this will continue all the way into October, as a mini-murder's row of Thome, Burrell and Bobby Abreu will lead the revival. I believe it!

Furthermore, Laine has touched my hidden inspirations, the ones that speak of no more Bowa meltdowns, and no more Bell bruises. They speak of Byrd flights, and happy landings. Listen, and you can hear the Wooten-Wagner-Worrell whistle blowing, a Phillie engine steaming for home.

I am now inspired to believe in Wolf Packs, and Padilla Flotillas. I am proud to cheer for a day of Ledee, or a midweek of Michaels. No more Pratt falls or Boone doogles. Even Doug Glanville can bring a twinkle to the eye of the new believer. Yes, I believe.

My friends, there is magic in song, even the oldest of tunes. For it is magic indeed that could turn a dire, dismal, doom of defeat spring of misery into a delicious, delirious, delightful winning summer of fun. This awaits us all, Phillie fans…I believe.

Columnist's Note: I welcome suggestions, questions and comments. Please send them to and I will respond. CD from the Left Coast

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