The Phillies are Dangerously Close to Having Major League Baseball’s Longest Playoff Drought

Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies were eliminated from the postseason on Thursday night at the hands of the Atlanta Braves. A three-game sweep to put the cherry on top of the crap sundae we consumed this season. The Phils showed flashes here and there, and took their division title push up to the end of September, but at the end of the day the inconsistency that plagued the team all season long reared its ugly head at the worst possible time.

Among the biggest disappointments is that this team has an MVP candidate and a Cy Young contender. Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler had monstrous individual seasons, and yet the Phillies couldn’t win Major League Baseball’s worst division. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. The Braves will finish 2021 as the division winner with the lowest winning percentage among the six champs. The NL East was there for the taking and the Phils didn’t have enough.

They have now gone 10-straight seasons without a playoff appearance, which is incredible. That’s good enough to give them the second-longest playoff drought in Major League Baseball:

The Mariners enter the weekend tied with Boston for that second AL Wild Card spot. They haven’t been in the playoffs since 2001, and if they make it this year, then the Phillies take over as the MLB team with the longest streak of missed playoff seasons. 

It’s been so long, that:

Some other things that were in play the last time the Phillies made the postseason:

  • Andy Reid was coaching the Eagles.
  • The Sixers’ Process had yet to begin.
  • The Union were in year #2 of existence.
  • Jaromir Jagr and Chris Pronger were Flyers.
  • Obama was still in his first term.
  • The Spectrum had only just been demolished.
  • The BB&T Pavilion was known as The Susquehanna Bank Center
  • Occupy Philadelphia protesters were camped out at City Hall.
  • Joe Frazier was still alive.
  • Kim Jong-il was running North Korea.
  • Meek Mill was on parole.

So on, and so forth. It’s been a long time. And the sad thing is that a lot of what plagued the Phillies back then plagues them to this day. The farm system is shot. The drafting has been really spotty. There’s been a lot of turnover in the developmental system. It’s a team that needs to rebuild a lot of things, but also has money tied to guys like Harper and Wheeler, who are in their prime and not getting the requisite help from everybody else on the team.

Keep an eye on the Mariners. They finish the season with a three-game set against the 75-84 Angels. If they pull it off, the Phillies now have Major League Baseball’s longest playoff drought.

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