COMMENTARY | From 2007-2011, the city of Philadelphia and its beloved Phillies enjoyed what many will consider the best run in the franchise's history: two straight World Series appearances, five straight division championships and the assembly of one of the best starting rotations baseball has ever seen.
Some will look back on those five seasons as a time when Philadelphia baseball was on the national radar while others will see just one championship in five chances and view it as a failure. I choose to see it as a great time for a starved fan base, but nonetheless it was a time when the city attempted to embrace an attitude it is not quite suited for.
New York is better suited for the attitude that comes with high expectations. The franchise was built around the idea that anything less than a championship is a failure, and after 27 championships the team reflects that attitude perfectly.
As good as the 2011 season promised to be with the anticipation of the "Phour Aces" dominance, it never felt like the Phillies seemed comfortable with the pressure that came with those expectations.
The front-runner mentality doesn't suit Philadelphia, a city defined by its underdog mentality much like the famed Rocky Balboa movie franchise: "It ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done."
Now that the championship expectations have all but disappeared, the team looks more energized and ready to prove everyone wrong. Perhaps you never believe in yourself more than when no one else does.
For this to become a reality, the Phillies will need more than a few bounces to go the right way, and so far it looks like a few of them might be doing just that.
Ben Revere was known as a "firecracker" in Minnesota, and has brought life and energy to a team that looked deflated for most of last season. Thus far in spring training, the one thing you can count on is if Ben Revere gets to second base, he will score.
He doesn't seem to have the patience yet to hit leadoff consistently, but he makes good enough contact and has the base-running instincts to be effective batting between Rollins and Utley.
Domonic Brown, with his first chance at an opening day roster spot since 2010, looks focused and determined to prove he can be the player many thought he was four years ago, and most of those same people now believe he isn't.
Much like a Tiger Woods golf swing, Brown's approach to hitting seems to finally be coming together. He is more patient at the plate, willing to wait for the right pitch instead of jumping at the first good one he sees.
The biggest bright spot for this team is the sheer fact that Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay are all in uniform and on the field. This is Utley's first spring training action since 2010 after spending the last two springs rehabbing his knees. We'll see if his range is limited and becomes a factor, but his presence is a victory for the Phillies in and of itself.
Two of the top teams in baseball - the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals - lie ahead of the Phillies in a division they dominated for five seasons. By all accounts (including my own) this team should finish third and hope to battle for a wildcard spot.
Third place may not be such a bad thing in the new era of baseball. Teams that fight for a wild card go into the playoffs battle tested and hungry, which is exactly what they thrive on. With a rotation of Halladay, Lee and Hamels, I guarantee no one would be excited to see them come October.
The 2013 Phillies will take their share of hits, but a veteran team like this can take those hits and keep moving forward.
Don't sleep on these Phillies just yet.
Scott Lentz is an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter from Philadelphia. He is a contributor to Yahoo! Sports and The Gaming Advisory, and has followed the Phillies since Dutch Daulton and the 1993 NL Championship team. For more baseball commentary, questions or comments, follow Scott on Twitter: @scottlentz27.