Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

A Phillies Phantasy

Posted by Eric Fisher On June 10

Welcome to Fantasy Island. Or should we call it Phantasy Island?

The Phillie Phanatic greets you as you step off the plane. You pose for pictures with the Phanatic, who gives you a huge hug, puts a lei around your neck and performs a hilarious hula dance in a giant grass skirt. This island seems like a lot of fun.

Chris Wheeler escorts you to your cabin, extolling the features of Citizens Bank Ballpark and the wonderful charity work done by the Phillies organization along the way.

You have to admit it. The scenery is gorgeous. The accommodations are luxurious.

Unfortunately, you have to give Wheels a $20 tip so he’ll stop yapping and go away.

You meet assistant general manager Marti Wolever, who informs you that the Phillies have had more first-round draft picks reach the major leagues than almost any other organization during the past 10 years.

Your mind starts to question why you can’t remember the accomplishments of any of the Phillies’ first-round picks during the past 10 years, but, before you can complete the thought, you are whisked away to dinner.

The food is wonderful. You are seated at a table with Phillies broadcasters Tom McCarthy, Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs. They all seem like nice guys. McCarthy laughs throughout the entire meal, although, most of the time, you’re not sure what’s so funny. Halfway through the meal, you find yourself nodding off.

Fortunately, just as you’re about to fall asleep, the Phanatic makes a cameo appearance at your table. He rubs McCarthy’s and Stairs’ follicley challenged skulls, pretends to walk with a cane as he approaches Moyer and then disappears. Mike Schmidt pulls up a chair near the end of the meal and is quickly asked by McCarthy about the 1980 World Series team. McCarthy then asks Stairs about his playoff home run against the Dodgers in 2008 and asks Moyer what it’s like to win a World Series with the team he rooted for as a kid.

When you get back to your cabin, you think about what a great time you’ve had on your first day.

And then you begin to realize that nobody has mentioned the current Phillies. The Phanatic, Citizens Bank Park, the discussion of the World Series titles in 1980 and 2008 … they’re all distractions from the drek being trotted out on the field every night.

There hasn’t been any mention of bullpen problems, poor defense, lack of clutch hitting, failure of starters to pitch deep into games and a myriad of problems facing the Phillies. The paucity of young prospects pushing for playing time doesn’t seem to fit with Wolever’s rosy assessment of the Phillies’ first-round selections over the past decade.

And then you remember being told that Larry Bowa, whom you had hoped to meet, was asked to leave Phantasy Island. You overheard two waiters talking about Bowa being too negative to meet the guests. You also realize that broadcaster Larry Anderson was nowhere to be found during dinner.

You turn on the radio and hear general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. saying the Phillies are getting closer to the point where they’ll have to consider rebuilding.

Then you take out your newspaper, which you smuggled onto the island using a secret compartment in your suitcase, and see that the Phillies have the worst record in the National League.

At that moment, you realize why they call this place Phantasy Island.


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