Phillies fans have certainly earned the right to gloat at least a little bit over the success of their ballclub. They've won the last five National League East crowns, winning no less than 89 games in any of those seasons. So, go ahead and gloat - just try and do it with some sense of decorum.
I wonder how many Phils fans know exactly how bad their ballclub used to be. They've got more than a cursory knowledge of what rock bottom looks like, and it's likely that experience that has made winning all the more pleasurable. And, make no mistake about it, someday they'll be awful again. It's all part of the process.
Friends of mine who have an allegiance to the New York Mets dating back to their birth in 1962 explain it as well as anyone. The Metropolitans averaged 52 wins in each of their first five seasons. They were, as many put it, historically bad, though some may have preferred prefix hysterical. When they won it all in 1969 it was all the more satisfying given where the ballclub started.
Hosting the postgame radio show following yesterday's 5-4 loss to San Diego, a woman stopped by who explained that she and her family had been Nationals full-season ticket holders since 2005 and, while it would be nice to win more often this year, they knew that better days are ahead. That, to me, is what the fan experience is all about.
Does your team have to win consistently in order for you to remain a fan? I occasionally hear from someone who will claim that, "They're not even trying" when the ballclub hits a bump in the road like the Nationals are experiencing now. If anyone really thinks that's the case, they not paying close enough attention.
The one theme you hear from talking with players, both past and present, is how hard this game is. Maybe it looks easy from where you're sitting, but there's a reason you're not on the field. Going 0-for-4 looks bad in the box score, but doesn't tell you how hard the ball was hit in those four plate appearances.
There's an old expression: "It's a very simple game." The speaker must have been talking about checkers, because this game, which at times may look simple, is anything but.
Try and keep that in mind as you watch this local work in progress over the next two-thirds of the season.