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The city of brotherly love had been snake bitten when it came to championships. There hadn’t been a title won in professional Philadelphia sports since the 1983 76ers. Dejected fans had become accustomed to heartbreak when it came to their local sports teams. That all changed, however, when the Philadelphia Phillies lifted up the city in 2008 with a World Series victory that brought the city to its feet.
Citizens Bank Park was the scene for the 2008 Fall Classic as the Fightin’ Phils knocked out the Tampa Bay Rays to bring a World Series title to Philadelphia for the first time since 1980. The stars of this team, including Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins would permanently etch their names in Phillies lore alongside heroes of the past like Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, and Steve Carlton from the 1980 championship team.
Following the 2008 season the Phillies made another run at the World Series in 2009 only to fall to the New York Yankees. Another few great seasons followed but, as with all teams, they eventually had to start over. The familiar star players have all exited the team, leaving current manager Gabe Kapler to help rebuild this squad into a contender again.
Tapped as the new skipper for the Phillies 2018 season, former major leaguer Gabe Kapler is now in charge of a team that managed only 66 wins in 2017, finishing last in the NL East. Kapler will lead the charge of this team in the middle of a rebuild. However, there is optimism in Philadelphia as the plan of the last few seasons is beginning to take shape. The pitching rotation led by Jake Arietta, a Cy Young Award winner and MLB All-Star, is in great shape with the young Aaron Nola hitting his MLB stride.
The position players are starting to gel and become a solid unit. Cesar Hernandez leads off for this team and is viewed as the best player Philadelphia has right now. He really came alive down the stretch last season and shows no signs of slowing down. Rhys Hoskins has settled into a good everyday player for the Phils. Odubel Herrera keeps watch in center field and also has fans impressed. Philadelphia made a big move in free agency with the acquisition of Carlos Santana from the Cleveland Indians. A three year deal solidified his spot on this team through 2020 with an option for 2021. Despite early struggles, it is only a matter of time before he finds his way with his new team.
In the biggest move of the MLB offseason, Philadelphia was able to land their prized free agent with the signing of Bryce Harper. Having led the Washington Nationals for the past few years, Harper is a competitor like no other. He will bring a fire and tenacity to this team that is sure to shake up this club’s lineup from top to bottom. A monster 13 year deal worth $330 million means that Harper will have a lot to live up to in a town where the fans are quick to let you know when they disapprove. However, if Harper can produce and take this team to the World Series, he will be immortalized in the City of Brotherly Love.
General Manager Matt Klentak is sure to make other moves along the way as his club looks to make improvements and compete in the NL East for the chance to taste the postseason again.
Among the most loved players in Philadelphia history are Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Richie Ashburn, Chase Utley, Robin Roberts, Jimmy Rollins, Pete Rose, and Larry Bowa. For more information about the Philadelphia Phillies click here.