The White Sox's World Series sweep yesterday brought to a close what, for me, has been the least compelling baseball season in recent memory. I can't really say why, except that the Phillies' off-season inaction left me pessimistic about the season before it even started and even though they flirted with being competitive all season, and had a shot at the playoffs down to the final day, they were never really very convincing. Every time they seemed to ready to lift their collective head out of mediocrity, they would turn around and blow a few games and sink under again (most notably, being swept by and falling behind the eventual wild-card winners Houston in the final weeks of the season). Phillies ownership must have felt similarly unmoved, since they booted GM Ed Wade.
There were, I suppose bright spots in the season: Brett Myers showed he was the team's true ace, 1B Ryan Howard filled in surprisingly well for injured Jim Thome, and 2B Chase Utley broke through in spectacular fashion despite the club's best attempt to bury him early in the season. (Omissions are not accidents: I am not mentioning SS Jimmy Rollins, who despite all the fuss about his hitting streak, still only batted .290/.338/.431). To be honest though, I am tiring of looking for bright spots in otherwise disappointing seasons. It's the same story every year. Despite having the nation's 6th-largest metropolitan area (PDF) and 4th-largest media market all to themselves, the team has a small-market mentality of just trying to be competitive and getting lucky from time to time, and they're not even as successful as some real small-market teams, like Minnesota. Beh.
As for the larger baseball world, I just couldn't muster much interest in the pennant races or the playoffs. I guess I'm a homer at heart, and when the Phils aren't interesting, the rest of baseball isn't either. Mark Bernstein paid closer attention to the season, and has thoughts on the World Series, but even he is underwhelmed by the champions: "a pretty good team that did pretty well and that will be remembered as something that happened between the Twins and the Indians."
Ah, well. There's always next year.