With the Phillies set to play in their first World Series against the Houston Astros since 2008, baseball in Philadelphia has never been better.
Of course, while the excitement is brand new, the path here may seem slightly familiar.
Why? Because the Phillies have an uncanny amount of similarities to the 2017 Eagles, who overcame the monkeys on their back and chugged their way to that ever-sweet Lombardi trophy.
From the players to the identity, let’s take a trip on memory lane and see how the teams add up.
The Big-Name Signings Put Them Over The Top
During their respective off-seasons, the Eagles and Phillies put their money were their mouth was.
The Phillies were growing impatient, and considering how much they’ve previously spent on star talent, there was no going back. They threw every cent they could at Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber.
While the verdict is still out on Castellanos, there’s no denying Schwarber made his impact with a stellar, NL-leading 46 home runs. Plus, that timely hitting never hurts:
A similar route happened with the Eagles. With the receiving corp needing a go-to, the Birds went and nabbed Alshon Jeffrey to a one-year, $14 million deal. While Jeffrey would never hit the 1,000 mark again, he still reeled in 789 yards and nine touchdowns during the 2017 season.
Torrey Smith was also brought in on a $15 million salary, as were LaGarrette Blount and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.
All players were crucial to the Eagles’ and Phillies’ stretch and playoff runs, as were their mid-season pickups (Brandon Marsh and Jay Ajayi). Being able to find their right components – even if it means cutting a bigger check – makes all the difference.
Their MVP goes down in the “all is lost” moment
You remember were you were for both. Carson Wentz was continuing his no-doubt MVP campaign when the unimaginable happened. Against the Los Angeles Rams, Wentz tears his ACL – somehow still able to throw a touchdown, his 33rd of the season – before he leaves.
At that moment, it seemed over for the Eagles. He had been an enigma on the field, making incredible Houdini plays that only a once-in-a-generation type player makes. While Foles would eventually take the team and fans to the promised land, it was bleak for a time.
Dido for the Phillies. Bryce Harper has had a rough year, with him first being limited to DH, and then taking a brutal, thumb-breaking pitch against the San Diego Padres. Harper would go on a tirade against Blake Snell, but the damage was done.
Ultimately, Harper was able to return unlike Wentz, but he missed 63 games in 2022. The Phillies were only 38-35 when Harper – hitting .318 at the time – went down. Like the Eagles, it seemed like a dagger at the time.
It’s a testament, then, that the times were able to overcome these kinds of injuries to their star players that, let’s be honest, would have put other squads under. Whether it was other players that stepped up or just plain luck, they managed to climb their way back to the top. Which leads us into our greatest comparison…
The Underdog Mantra Lives On
With Wentz out of the picture, the Eagles were all but assumed to be an exit once they got a crack to play in the Divisional Round. With them being the underdog in every game, they embraced it and brought out the dog masks: an image that forever cemented itself in Philadelphia history.
Whether it’s coincidence or fate, that once again has come into play. While the Eagles earned their way into the playoffs with the #1 seed, the Phillies were the last team in. Facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, few expected the utter tear they were about to embark on.
Indeed, the Phillies would take down the #3 Cards, the #2 Atlanta Braves, and the #5 Padres. All higher seeded teams, but now all sitting at home on the couch or playing golf in Cancun.
Regardless of what happens next, the Phillies have shown that perhaps the winning mentality moving forward is to not focus on what how you’re labeled. Instead, fight and perseverance always come out on top in the end.