I sold the Phillies short this year mainly because I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so hard to repeat in baseball. It hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happened since the Torre Yankees about 10 years ago, and then before that the Blue Jays of the early Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ90s. Three separate teams repeated in the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ70s, but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s back in the early stages of free agency when it was far easier to hold onto a good team once youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve built one.
But I underestimated the Phillies Ã¢â‚¬â€œ anticipating their demise at the hands of the red-hot Rockies in the divisional round Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and I really shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have.
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Fresh off this site proclaiming him the "Baseball LeBron" — the highest praise we can offer — Joe Mauer played on Sunday night in the TwinsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ extra-inning loss to the Rangers and had the first 0-for-6 game of his career. He also lost the AL batting lead to Ichiro Suzuki (.363), dropping to a pitiful .358.
Then Monday night, Mauer had a routine night off and collected a pinch-hit single, but his team blew a 12-2 second-inning lead to the AÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and lost, 14-13, on a horrendous call at home plate in the ninth.
Now, the last thing we want to do in the early stages of SportsAngle Version II is to get a reputation like those Madden video games and Sports Illustrated have. (Is it any wonder that SI is struggling big-time right now?)
Look, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just consider this a huge coincidence. MauerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s having an awesome season, and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still going to cash in big-time sometime in the next two years, so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not like we could have destroyed him like the Madden Curse does. Besides, he was on the cover of SI just a couple of weeks ago, so if he totally drops off the face of the earth, I think we can just blame them.
Of course, right after this, LeBronÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s DunkGate kicked off.
So if we find thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something to this Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Lance Armstrong falls off his bike tomorrow or something like that Ã¢â‚¬â€œ we may have to go back on hiatus for the greater good of todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s athletes.
Or even better, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll limit ourselves to coverage on guys we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like Ã¢â‚¬â€œ like Shane Victorino.