Excitement was in the air at Citizens Bank Park yesterday.
It started with Cole Hamels agreeing to a six-year, $144 million contract extension with the Phillies, and it ended with the Phillies rallying in their final at-bat that helped them earn a 7-6 victory over the Brewers.
It was the type of buzz that has been lacking for the Phillies all year, and there’s hope now and in the future.
Getting Hamels back for six more years was enough to make the Phillies and their fans happy. It alleviated concerns after talk about him being traded or leaving as a free agent. It was something that had to be done by both parties, and now, there won’t be talk about his future. He is in Philadelphia for a long time.
It wasn’t surprising he stayed. He liked the organization, and he enjoyed living and working in Philadelphia all these years. He loves the fans. He has it good over there, and he knew the team was going to give him years and the money. He never talked about wanting to leave at any point of the season. He was committed to getting a deal done, and the Phillies were not going to let their homegrown player walk at any cost.
For Hamels, it has to be a relief. He does not have to think about trade rumors. He does not have to answer questions about what he plans to do. He can do his job without dealing with distractions.
He could have went out on the open market, but after what the Phillies did in making an all-out effort to keep him, he decided that was enough to keep him happy. He also likes the idea of staying in one city for the rest of his career as he alluded about Tony Gwynn playing his entire career with his hometown Padres
With Hamels back, the players are rejuvenated. They don’t have to answer questions about his future on a daily basis. They can play without any distractions, and they can focus on the task at hand of winning games and making a playoff run.
The message was set by the organization that they are here to win and they will pay guys that earned it. That was the symbol of Hamels staying rather than seeking greener pastures.
With Hamels out of the way, it’s about making a run in the wild-card standings. This sweep has them rejuvenated. They are 9 ½ games out of the wild card race, so they have plenty of time to make some games up even if it is not going to be easy.
The Phillies are playing meaningful games at this point. That is a good thing. That means they are not playing out the string just yet.
The Phillies are heading to Atlanta for a weekend series against the Braves, and they will wrap up the road trip by playing the Nationals at Nationals Park. This trip will define their season. If they can win the series against both teams, they will make up some games and they can make a run.
The guys certainly believe right now. The mojo is back. They finally figure out how to win games and winning in a comeback fashion. They know they can beat anyone at anytime. It’s like old times all of sudden.
This is what happens when the Phillies have their superstars back in Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Those two played in a role in their team’s comeback victories by getting hits and taking good at-bats. That has been lacking by other players when those two were on the disabled list. The rest of the players did not have the skill to compensate the losses of those two. Their stars have given their team hope.
Hope is a good thing for the Phillies. It beats lost cause at this point. Wins can get a team and their fans feel good about themselves. Right now, the games have become meaningful, and that’s a good situation.
With the team winning, it’s hard to believe Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will make any trades. He feels they can make a run with many more weeks to go. He saw the Cardinals and the Rays qualify for a wild-card spot after falling behind in the standings in the month of August. He knows his team can do the same, especially with his stars being healthy.
There’s so much to get excited about the Phillies with Hamels back and the team winning games. If nothing else, the team is providing something to watch for the next few weeks
That’s a good thing since it beats watching Eagles training camp.