The Philadelphia Phillies exited a period of perennial contention two years ago. Now, with little but extensive hope left under their Christmas tree, fans are wondering when Santa Claus will be seen again.
Good old Saint Nicholas was a real person who lived in the fifth century in what is now modern-day Turkey. That orphaned child grew up to become a Catholic Bishop. Known for his kindness to poor families, widows and children, Nicholas is recognized by historians as the original inspiration for Santa Claus.
So, what does that seasonal lesson have to do with Philadelphia's baseball team? Patience is a virtue of all good children.
Phanatics within the confines, or general vicinity, of Citizens Bank Park have been known to act immaturely when they don't get their way, or aren't instantly handed exactly what they want. But, reasoned minds and balanced emotions know to look at the bigger diamond picture.
Ruben Amaro, Jr. was a key front office staff member who helped former general manager Ed Wade to rebuild the farm system from the late-1990s through the early 2000s. Amaro also assisted Pat Gillick when that Hall of Fame general manager led the Phillies to their 2008 World Series championship.
Baseball, sports and life move in cycles. While the past period of success (2007-2011) might have seemed like an annual gift from Saint Nick, it wasn't. Those playoff years resulted from focused effort and sustained resolve.
With many corporate pieces still in place, reasonable fans are allotting their team a few more seasons to regain its footing. They're not expecting Santa to fly down and magically solve every problem. They also know that kind man won't change the dynamics that most successful franchises work through after a winning era has naturally waned.