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Phillies nostalgia brings renewed hope

Phillies honor 1993 team.

Darren Daulton helps Curt Schilling put on his jersey. The Phillies put Schilling on the Wall of Fame this past Friday. Darren Daulton helps Curt Schilling put on his jersey. The Phillies put Schilling on the Wall of Fame this past Friday.

It's not difficult to see why Phillies fans love the '93 team. There was never a squad like it in the team's 130-year history. During spring training, there was no expectations for a rag-tag team, primarily comprised of cast-offs.

However, much of the celebrated scruffy bunch had career years and the team somehow ended up just two wins from a World Series title. The Krukker, The Dude and Dutch made for great copy. This past weekend, many from that beloved crew came back to Philadelphia to celebrate the 20th anniversary.

Nostalgia and hyperbole go hand in hand. One scribe actually wrote that the '93 team is the greatest in the history of the Phillies. He inexplicably placed them in front of the '80 team and the 2008 team.

"The fans may not realize it since they're living in it, but this is the greatest era in Phillies baseball history," MLB analyst and '93 alum Mitch Williams said.

Despite being in the midst of the second lost season, contemporary Phillies fans are in a much better place than those who cheered on a squad when mullets were fashionable. There was no future for those Phillies.

After '93, the team tanked. Terry Francona couldn't win with the likes of Midre Cummings in center. There was no new ballpark or pot of gold in terms of crazy television revenue on the horizon.

The Phillies were akin to the small market Royals in 1994. But the Phillies are at the Yankees and Red Sox level these days.

"I expect us to compete and aim to go deep in the playoffs every year," Jimmy Rollins said.

The Phillies have the resources to reload. The huge television deal is a year-and-a-half away. Citizens Bank Park doesn't sell out anymore, but more than 30,000 head to the yard for every game. The money is there in terms of revenue stream and a number of big contracts are coming off the books at the end of September.

It's a matter of making the right decisions. The Phillies need to add at least a corner outfielder, starting pitcher, two bullpen pieces and probably a catcher via free agency or trades.

Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels will lead the rotation. Domonic Brown has answered his myriad of critics. Once Ben Revere spent two months in the NL and became comfortable, the fleet center fielder was wielding a hot bat prior to his injury.

"I would rather be where the Phillies are now, rather than where they were in 1994," a NL scout said. "They can turn it around. Look at the Red Sox. They had a horrible year last season. If you have some talent and resources, look out.

"It starts with starting pitching and they have two aces and Domonic Brown emerged. With the right moves in the offseason, the Phillies are a contender next season."

 
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