What we lose when the Phillies tank

     Nobody is having much fun watching the Phils this year. (AP photo/Keith Srakocic)

    Nobody is having much fun watching the Phils this year. (AP photo/Keith Srakocic)

    It’s over. Really over. And summer isn’t the same.

    The Phillies eight-game losing streak after the All Star break and several embarrassing losses since make it clear that a magical era has ended.

    The Phils’ extraordinary run dating back to 2007, when the team was an up-and-coming, then-feared juggernaut stocked with talented and likable players, is spent.

    We’ll forever remember them: Rollins, Howard, Utley, Lee, even Joe Blanton—remember him homering in the 2008 World Series? But their run is done.

    I’m not enough of a baseball wonk to say who the team should trade or keep or buy on the free-agent market. But it’s clearly time to rebuild.

    What hurts isn’t that we won’t see a championship this year. It’s that we’re losing a summer of Baseball That Matters.

    For years, we knew that nearly every night there was a baseball game that really counted. Whether you went to the ballpark, watched a few minutes on TV after dinner or peered over somebody’s shoulder at a bar, you were checking in on games with real stakes, and thus real drama.

    Now we’re in second-tier status, where games are just games.

    We wandered in that desert for more than decade before the rise of the 2007 Phils, and when they did start winning, it was that much sweeter.

    Maybe you need a stretch of mediocre play to keep you from taking the good times for granted.

    So I’ll take my medicine. I just hope I don’t have to take it for another 10 years.

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