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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

5/6/22 : The “It” Factor

Blowing a six run lead in the ninth inning and snatching defeat from victory is certainly bothersome and deflating yet from this observer’s view is another instance of losing complacency that has become an ongoing part of the “Harper Era” Phillies.

Our home team’s game has quietly morphed into a sterilization of competitiveness and it’s not just the most recent endeavor. I see and hear a lack to truly embrace and embody the passion to win - feeling it as a key part of the overall equation and spread from fan base to locker room. Somewhere along the line that’s dissipated and although players say and act publicly “the right way” in regards to wins, losses and team building I have the sense that the true “it” factor continues to be missing.

Perhaps, as some might say, it is attributed to the modern use of technology and it’s incorporated impact on the game - e.g. predetermined placement of lineups, defensive placement based on trends, etc. I don’t believe that to be entirely the case but I do see it as a contributor - quite frankly the bickering of “how the game used to be played” and a divide or disregard to accept/incorporate new methods or techniques seems to continually create an imbalance amongst both fans and members of the team. It’s a two way street as there seems to be just as much disrespect for the history and embedded knowledge of experience from those completely devoted to “analytics”. In it’s entirety it has made the approach and actions seem sterile and uninspired. That’s not just the Phillies though but Baseball in general.

Last night’s Phillies loss was bad but to be honest it’s seemingly become more the norm of acceptance that bothers me. The subsequent discussions of “resilience” when the team wins its next game has become the most disappointing continual reaction. The lack of consistent drive and “spark” with the “Harper era” teams dating back to the days of skipper Kapler is a recurring theme. That’s not to say the players during this time haven’t and don’t want to win but rather that they don’t know how to consistently and that there’s a subconscious willingness to temper and accept defeat.

Fans will and are calling for the Manager’s head - a normal reaction in baseball when things don’t go well. That is inevitable if the team continues to spiral but to me it’s not the crux or core of the issue. The lack of the “it” factor - a true sense of urgency and not just words that mask complacency is what I continually see. There seems to be a real lack of concern for the consequences of failure amongst the core players, regardless of the mix of whom they are.

Changing the culture of a business team or baseball clubhouse isn’t an easy task - building the “it” factor - introducing players with noted competitive energy like Schwarber and Castellanos is helpful but not the complete answer. The edge still must be found from within the core and spread throughout - it’s heartfelt, it’s passionate, it’s universal, it’s an acceptance, it’s willingness and it’s inclusive. I don’t feel or see that, the inclusivity part in particular. Hopefully I’m proven wrong - as a Phillies fan I sincerely hope and wish for that - being up in the wee hours of the morning thinking about it is tiring 🥺.

This team gives off the impression of the disregard of “the it factor”. I believe they care about winning but I also believe they accept losing too readily. That’s morphed into us all - we are seemingly more keen on discussing the conflict and disparity of losses, who doesn’t “run hard” or whether a ball should have been caught, etc, e.g. who is to blame rather than the unbridled passion of team support and building the competitive fire that Philly fans can provide - that is a true element needed to win consistently for both the team and fans alike. I’m personally tired of the game highlights being analysts ranting or yelling about what went wrong and pointing out shortcomings. It’s become too expected and willingly wanted/accepted.

So we are once again to the next day of “resilience” - a new game to show the ability to bounce back after a tough loss. Tired of that being a theme as well but here we are 🤦‍♂️🥴.

When you have “it” baseball becomes a way of life - when ya don’t It’s just a nightly event. We need the 🔥 to be lit and continue to burn.

Just a rant from a lifelong fan who each day seems to sadly grow more disinterested. Complacency is not a good thing in baseball or for that matter life - just saying.

Hopefully today is more of a Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️ for the Phillies and us fans else the bleachers in Philly may be as empty as they usually are at Carpenter Complex in the summer.

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