After what transpired Sunday, it's not too difficult to scrounge up some big-time empathy for America's Most-Phamous "Phils":
PHIL Mickelson and the Fightin' PHILS of Philadelphia.
What makes their plight so fascinating is that a lot of us saw this coming.
And that makes for a long busride back to Loserville.
Several hours after Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship, Bobby Abreu and the Yankees completed Phase IV of the five-phase liquidation of the Affleckian BoSucks -- and the Woody haters and the Abreu bashers had plenty of ammo.
To them, Woody and Abreu are all about me, me, me.
For those who were hoping to tailgate to a June-July-August of Mickelson making his bid for the "Mickel-Slam," what Woody did to Phil on Sunday had to mickel-suck.
After all, it was Woody, who along with The Pitchfork, were not suckered into believe one word coming out of Mickelsuck's mouth when he offered his long-winded sales pitch re: his so-called choke on the 72nd hole of the U.S. Open ("I'm such an idiot").
Anyone with a functioning brain correctly opined that the season's second major was NOT Phil's to win (as was misreported by seemingly everybody), but actually Colin Montgomerie's.
Until Monty gakked on 18.
And, in the subsequent aftermath, there was plenty of Phil talking about Phil, instead of Phil congratulating champion Geoff Ogilvy.
It was soooo reminiscent of Costanza stretched out on the gurney in the hospital hallway when he frustratedly blurted out:
"This was supposed to be the Summer of George!!"
He then repeated the battlecry, using a more-wistful tone.
"... the Summer of George ..."
The Summer Of Phil is not to be ... and The Summer of PHILS isn't any more-palatable, given that every Phils' fan is bent on making a scapegoat out of Bobby Abreu.
In fact, it was reported somewhere that 93.5 percent of Phillies Nation believes that Bobby Abreu cost Phil Mickelson the U.S. Open championship.
That's because Bobby Abreu loafs in the outfield.
And because Bobby Abreu doesn't give 110 percent.
And because he's probably too Venezuelan.
And he doesn't want to help the team by batting in the leadoff spot.
And because he draws too many walks when he should be hitting six-run homers like our whitebread heroes, Thome and Burrell.
Even if Thome is an ex-Phillie, the fact that he batted .203 with runners in scoring position when he had 42 HRs and 105 ribbies in '04, well ... that was a solid-and-aw-shucks/gee-whiz .203.
When Bobby Abreu averages 25 HRs, 100 RBI, 25 SB during the course of eight seasons, it's because he plays the game for himself -- and no one else.
Thome might be hitting .203 with runners in scoring position, but he's working his ass off.
When Abreu hits .422 in RISP situations (as he did during his first year in Philly, '98 ... or the .353 he batted w/ RISP in '03), it's because the game comes naturally to him.
And, if he applied himself, Abreu could be batting .450 in those situations.
All day ... every day.
Like Thome would.
If he had Abreu's natural ability.
But, Thome was about winning pennants.
Bobby Abreu is about Bobby Abreu.
Unlike Pat Burrell.
When he puts up a .259 lifetime average, Burrell does it with the best interests of the Philadelphia Phillies at the forefront.
Which is why the Phils would never trade him.
So, as predicted by the Pitchfork two months ago, Mickelson turned into a puddle once he got his "I'm such an idiot" punchline out of his head and allowed Woody's game to take over his brain.
(With a burst of rage): "This was supposed to be the summer of Phil!"
(Whimpering quietly): " ... the Summer of Phil ..."
The Summer of Phil became a topic only because Tiger missed the cut at the U.S. Open.
Woody's back ... living inside Phil's head now.
Until further notice.
Just for kicks, some of us spent Thursday twisting pro-Mickelson logic into something sensible.
"This tournament is Phil's to win ... until Tiger tees off."
Notwithstanding Mickelson's Phil-osophy, the thing that's stuck in the Phillies' craw the fact that Bobby Abreu is batting a almost .400 since joining the Yankees.
Y'see, Phillie fans are wise to Abreu's hidden agenda -- such as when Yankees' third-base coach Larry Bowa gave up his #53 for the newest pinstriper.
"Typical Bowa," sayeth Phillies Nation ... "parlaying his ulterior motives with Abreu's hidden agenda. If the Yankees win the World Series this year, those World Series rings are going to feel hollow on their fingers.
"Because those are the fingers that they used to grip the knife that stabbed Phillies Nation in the back."
Damn straight, you proud boobirds. Bobby's gonna rue the day that he swapped his red pinstripes for NYY pinstripes. For those who saw Abreu single off of the Green Monster moments before Giambi hit another HGH HR ... it looked mighty selfish.
Hitting a single or drawing a walk before a teammate hits the go-ahead home run, that's the easy way out.
A few nights ago, Abreu drilled a shot to the gap against the Orioles and then legged his double into a three-bagger when the ball was misplayed.
Abreu eventually scored the go-ahead run, but it pointed out what made him so unpopular to those knowledgable Phillie fans: Running hard from batter's box to third base.
A team player such as Pat Burrell doesn't waste his time padding his stats with an average near .300.
Burrell gives a blue-collar .259 effort.
He doesn't waste his breath being all "showy" and "hotdogging" by chugging for third base.
In fact, if Burrell does hit one to the gap, he'll usually stop at first base to save his strength for later in the game for when his RBI groundout can make all the difference in an 8-4 loss.
It's about finding one's "pace."
Something Abreu never understood in Philly.
Which made him the target of "get-him-outta-here!" ire on the radio call-in shows.
Burrell doesn't enjoy getting all flashy and flamboyant like Abreu, such as hitting a 3-run homer to put the Phils ahead, 6-5, because that would call attention to himself ... either on SportsCenter or the local news.
An oh-for-4 night with two whiffs allows Pat The Bat to explore his inner-.259 hitting star.
Besides, if Burrell went 2 for 4 with two doubles, the time that he would noramlly spend in quiet introspection would be wasted talking to the media.
And that would deter from his "focus."
'Cuz Burrell and his .259 career average are about blue-collar ball.
Not Abreu-styled Hollywood.
This probably explains why Burrell doesn't talk about his current streak of 265 games (through Sun., Aug. 20) without attempting a stolen base. While 47-year-old Julio Franco is 5-for-5 in stolen bases this year, Burrell likes to stay within himself, lest he go crazy on the basepaths and end up like Darren Daulton and have 11 knee surgeries.
On top of that, Burrell needs to save his baserunning legs for the sake of his outfielder/range-of-a-dumptruck legs ... for those occasions when a sinking liner to LF needs to be played from a putout to a single.
Burrell's content to allow Abreu to hotdog it over in the A.L.
When the postseason rolls around, the TV cameras will be on Abreu as he's settling into the batter's box -- and the knowledgable Phillie fan will say, "Lookit this prima donna. The network airing this game is probably going to show me every pitch of the Abreu at-bat. What an ego! Abreu wants me to watch every pitch of his at-bat. You believe the nerve of that guy?"
Burrell and his .259 average will be watching the playoffs on TV.
Unless he's watching Woody mess with Phil's head on another network.
Phil's fans and Phils fans ... they don't know who to root for ...
They never have ...