May 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM
For decades, I never panicked when it came to the Philadelphia Phillies.
I knew, that by my birthday on June 19, they would be in first place or near it. And for many seasons, I was right on the money.
But those were the waves of the middle-to-late 1970s and early 1980s when players like Michael Jack Schmidt, Larry Bowa and Steve Carlton roamed the earth like dinosaurs. Later came Pete Rose, Sarge and the Wheeze Kids to carry us for a little while, making summers just a little warmer.
As we near June, we all are hopeful that this 2014 edition can finally put together a winning streak that will get us out of the gutter and into the driver's seat.
That's because we're hopeful that our World Series core of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels and Carlos Ruiz have just enough octane in the tank to get us to one more post-season.
But those glory days are over.
The harsh reality is that General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is keeping fans filling seats by playing to our heart strings and hoping that the magic will come back. He's basically staking his job to this core unit. He, like the fan base, is wishing for a little more magic in the bottle.
The bottle, though, is empty.
When you hang your hopes on whether Ben Revere can get on base and your battered bullpen and keep you afloat, you know it's going to be a long season.
June might be a long month. And when there are already rumblings about trading Utley, you know that the Dogs Days of Summer might bite at us like a Doberman.
This year, my birthday won't be much of a happy one. I'm a year older and so is my team. And I won't feel any younger watching this team play over the next few months.
Dino Ciliberti is a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan, journalist of 30 years and award-winning sports writer who lives in Upper Dublin Township in Montgomery County. With Philly Sports Chatter he shares his thoughts about the professional sports in the Greater Philadelphia region.
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