Here are 10 reasons the Phillies will make the playoffs:
1. It's 2003. They won their last pennants in 1983 and 1993. That's trend enough for me.
2. Jim Thome will obliterate Mike Schmidt's single-season home run record of 48, resulting in a new fashion trend in which businessmen hike their pants up to their knees.
3. Super buff Bobby Abreu will take it to the Sammy Sosa-Barry Bonds level.
4. Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan will use his mystical powers to transform the young pitchers and various reclamation projects into a quality staff.
5. Ben and Jerry's will name their next ice cream flavor ''Placido Polanco,'' in honor of his monster season.
6. SS Jimmy Rollins will figure out four balls equals a walk and those free trips to first base will help him regain the NL stolen-base crown.
7. GM Ed Wade will follow his Johnny Estrada-for-Kevin Millwood heist by picking up Bartolo Colon for Jeremy Salazar at the trading deadline to bolster the stretch run.
8. The baseball gods realize it's the final year of Veterans Stadium and will decide to even out all of the bad karma from the past, which will mean lots of whacky, wonderful wins.
9. CF Marlon Byrd will join Dick Allen and Scott Rolen as the only Phillies to win the Rookie of the Year award with, say, a .280-25-80 season.
10. A cancer-free Tug McGraw will make a Veterans Stadium appearance, hand out ''Ya Gotta Believe'' buttons to everyone and inspire the club nightly with his courage.
And here are 10 reasons the Phillies will NOT make the playoffs:
1. Pitching. Pitching. Pitching. Expected 3-4-5 starters Vicente Padilla, Brandon Duckworth and Brett Myers have a combined lifetime record of 36-36, hardly the wings of eagles.
2. Padilla takes more time to warm up than Tuesday's leftovers and loses a bunch of games due to first-inning drubbings.
3. Closer Jose Mesa will become more obsessed with finding ways to ''kill'' Omar Vizquel than recording outs. Leading the list is burying Vizquel under an avalanche of his unsold books.
4. All-Star catcher Mike Lieberthal will catch his favorite soap operas more than the pitching staff as the stress reaction to his pelvic area flares. ''Pelvis has left the building'' is not the headline we want to see.
5. Jim Thome will break down under the weight of all the expectations and be as productive as Danny Tartabull was.
6. ''Excitable Boy'' Larry Bowa will lose control of the clubhouse with the kind of temper, nagging and impatience Cinderella's stepmom doled out.
7. A Scott Rolen storm cloud will develop: Free agent wannabe Kevin Millwood, represented by Scott Boras, mastermind of the J.D. Drew fiasco, will announce he doesn't want to come back, and the fans will make it ugly.
8. Pat Burrell will slump while trying to land his dream date with Britney Spears or leave when Fox offers him a role as the next ''Joe Millionaire.''
9. Leadoff man Jimmy Rollins will take fewer walks than Jabba the Hut and his horrid on-base percentage at the top of the order will stagnate the offense.
10. Players will become too misty-eyed to catch or hit the ball at all the last-year-of-the-Vet tributes.
Ten for the money; 10 for the woe
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