“‘CLIFFMAS’ GIFT FILLS CITY WITH PRIDE, CREATES HIGH HOPES FOR TEAM” was the headline that ran on December 15, 2010 in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The article reflected how all Philadelphians were feeling at the time. Most were overjoyed to see the winner of 2 2009 World Series games back in red pinstripes. Even famous Philadelphian’s showed their excitement on early Twitter.
With Zack Wheeler signed, the Phillies are most likely still in search of another starting pitcher. As of now, the Phillies rotation lines up as such: Nola, Wheeler, Eflin, Arrieta, and some underwhelming 5th option.
But what if it’s time for a repeat of Cliffmas?
There’s a certain feeling in the air right now is similar to the first December of the decade. The Yankees are trying to get one of the best pitchers on the free-agent market (Lee/Cole-Strasburg) and seem to be the favorites to sign them.
Meanwhile, the Phillies aren’t being mentioned in any potential deals. In fact, if the Phillies want to sign either Strasburg or Cole, they are going to have to go over the tax threshold. The Phillies have never gone over the tax limit, but 2020 could be their first.
Some have questioned Owner John Middleton’s willingness to go over the threshold, but after the end of the season, he said this.
“I’m not going to go over the luxury tax so we have a better chance to be the second wild-card team,” Middleton said. “That’s not going to happen. I think you go over the luxury tax when you’re fighting for the World Series. If you have to sign Cliff Lee and that puts you over the tax, you do it. If you have to trade for Roy Halladay and sign him to an extension and that puts you over the tax, you do it. But you don’t do it for a little gain.”
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Cliff Lee, you say John?
Who could possibly be at that level? Oh, wait, Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are. There are too many parallels going on for Cliffmas V2 not to happen. The only thing that won’t repeat is Cliff Lee (Strasburg/Cole) taking less money than the Phillies.
If the Phillies could pull off another surprise signing, Philadelphia will once again be filled with videos like this.
Cliffmas even inspired fans to write poetry, well, a parody of poetry.
Twas the Night before Cliffmas (Mike Seydell) Copy
“Twas The Night before Cliffmas and all through the Park, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels embark, on a new training session to start off the day and attempt to erase the memory of the black,orange and gray. The rest of the Phillies… asleep in their beds, with visions of Championships playing in their heads. The Phanatic on his 4 wheeler and Charlie in his cap, looks down his line-up, and batting 5th there’s a gap. When all of a sudden, arouse such a chatter, Espn was on the scene to see whats the matter! Away from the Rangers he flew like a flash! Flipped off the Yankees and told them to keep their cash! When what to our wondering eyes should appear!? A familiar face of a man who was just here! With a nasty curve ball and a fastball that’s quick, an addition to a rotation that’s already sick! The most powerful rotation that’s ever been seen! The Big 3 is now 4, cause Cliffs back on the team! Now Halladay,Hamels,Oswalt and Lee! Victorino,Howard,Rollins and Utley! From the NLCS to the World Series we’ll go! 100 win season? Ask Rollins he’ll know! Cliff came to our team cause he said it felt right, Merry Cliffmas to All and to all a good night!”
A second Cliffmas would mean a second grand era of Phillies fandom. I don’t know about you, but I’m all here for it. Plus, there would be no better 10-year challenge for the end of the decade.
Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports