The 2012 Phillies are not the Phillies we’ve been used to watching over the past five years. They aren’t winning games like they used to, and the brand of baseball we’re seeing on the field isn’t exciting like years past. Injuries obviously haven’t helped the situation, but all good things do eventually come to an end. I hope I’m wrong with everything I’m about to say, but the signs I’m seeing so far this season down at the ball park lead me to believe 90’s baseball is making a return to South Philadelphia.

I grew up attending Phillies games at the Vet year in and year out, so I know what it’s like to watch a bad baseball team like many others in the Delaware Valley. Fans are growing weary of this ball club very fast. Tickets aren’t selling the way they did last season because of the team’s performance, and the gloomy outlook for the rest of this season and the future. This team is aging at a rapid pace, and it’s a scary thought for fans that have invested so much time and money into the Phillies since 2007 when they started this glorious stretch of baseball. As a Phillies season ticket holder I’m seeing firsthand the demand for tickets beginning to drop this season. Tickets used to sell easily on sites like Stub-Hub but so far this season it’s been a struggle to sell any games I can’t attend even at below face value. The fans are beginning to realize this could be the beginning of the end for this run of special baseball.

When you stop and think about it what is there to be excited about when it comes to the future of this franchise? I don’t see a next big superstar on the horizon coming out of the minor leagues anytime soon. Dominic Brown has been a complete bust, and I think it’s fraudulent for the Phillies to try to sell him to us as the next big thing. He clearly can’t hit Major League pitching, and is a mess out in the field. I haven’t heard much buzz of any other names set to come up from the minors ready to set the world on fire. Meanwhile teams in our division are getting younger and better every season. The Nationals and Marlins both are filled with young superstars ready to steal the division away from the Phillies.

The fact the Phillies haven’t signed Cole Hamels yet is another frightening thing to Phillies fans everywhere. I can’t stress it enough that Cole is without a doubt the most important signing this franchise will ever have to make to date. He’s the future of this rotation and clearly the ace of the staff in 2012. Halladay and Lee aren’t getting any younger, and I think the time is now to start exploring a trade for one of them to possibly replenish the farm system with some young talent. The move would also allow the Phillies to free up some salary to put towards Cole Hamels contract. The bottom line is Cole and Vance Worely need to be the future of this rotation to give the Phillies any possibility of keeping the success going otherwise it’ll be right back to the division cellar for this team on a permanent basis.

Growing up in the 90′s, Phillies baseball was about as exciting as watching paint dry. You could walk up to the ticket office on game day and by tickets for that night without any problems. The excitement and buzz wasn’t there like it’s been since 07. This franchise was a doormat, and I attended all throughout the 90′s because I love the game of baseball and I knew whenever the day would come that this team would win a World Series it’d all be worth it to attend games and follow a franchise that was so pitiful. But like many others, I don’t ever want to have to endure that brand of baseball ever again in this town. The problem is this team is getting old, and I don’t see any steps being made to replenish the franchise with the talent to keep the success going.

Folks I hope I’m wrong but within another season or two I see full fledged 90′s baseball making a return to Philly. Enjoy this season while you can because if Cole Hamels isn’t signed this team is basically telling us all we’re ready to go into rebuilding mode.