After winning the World Series and making an appearance in another, the Philadelphia Phillies' organization crashed. No, that wasn't an analysis of the team's current predicament. Instead, it's a chilling reminder of what happen in the mid-1980s.
The Phillies' 1985 roster included some long-time teammates (Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Garry Maddox, Greg Gross), as well as some younger players (Juan Samuel, Darren Dalton, Von Hayes, Jeff Stone, Glenn Wilson, Kevin Gross, Charles Hudson, Don Carman and others). That Philadelphia baseball team (75-87) was five years removed from a World Series victory over the Kansas City Royals, two years past a 'Fall Classic' appearance against the Baltimore Orioles and eight years away from making the playoffs (and going to the World Series) again.
By the way, the 1984 team finished 81-81. Does that .500 line look familiar?
Phillies' fans are hoping that the 2013 team doesn't finish behind the Miami Marlins, whose payroll ($50.5 million) falls far below Philadelphia's money machine ($159.5 million). The current 6.5 game gap between these teams could disappear depending on the type of effort Ryne Sandberg's tethered squad offers from now through late September. But, 'Ryno' (like Charlie Manuel before him) won't be the cause if that is the case.
General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. and the corporate board who told him which big-money players he needed to keep, must know that the malaise which is affecting them won't relent any time soon. This throwback comparison is apt and looks just as terrible as it did to all seasoned loyalists who accurately diagnosed it the first time around.