Some tombstone ideas for the Phillies: 81 and 81 ain't much fun. Where did all the good players go? Bad season, let's go vomit.
Exactly why the season went so wrong for the Phillies is a matter of opinion. Exactly who paid the highest price initially was not. Three men - hitting instructor Greg Gross, bench coach Pete Mackanin, and first-base coach Sam Perlozzo - lost their jobs.
More changes are coming.
Some players are going to lose their jobs, too.
The prevailing opinion in the clubhouse afterward was that the Phillies' fall from grace was mostly about the avalanche of injuries that started with Ryan Howard's torn Achilles tendon on the final day of the 2011 season and was magnified by Chase Utley's bad news about his bum knees before they played a Grapefruit League game.
Nobody was more emphatic about the Phillies' cause of death than shortstop Jimmy Rollins, the only member of the team who had enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title this season.
"It's a fact," Rollins said. "Fourteen games under [on July 13]. We got our lineup back for the most part and played 14 games over. That's always a positive sign, but we just got back so far that 14 over only got us to .500 at the end of the season."
Rollins later lauded the Nationals for their fine season but added "with us being healthy, you know they're still second place."
The Phillies finished third behind Washington and Atlanta and it's impossible to know how that might have changed if Howard and Utley were around from start to finish. Rollins likes to send messages, and his latest one should still be resonating come February.
It was obvious at the trade deadline that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. did not think his team's problems were all injury-related. He shipped out Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence before Utley and Howard had any significant time together this season.
That same day, in this same ballpark where the season ended Wednesday, Amaro and manager Charlie Manuel talked about giving John Mayberry Jr. and Domonic Brown an extended opportunity to prove they could be everyday players in the big leagues.
Mayberry, it says here, proved he could not. He hit .262 after the all-star break, .245 overall, and .083 in his final 11 games. At best, he appears to be an extra outfielder.
The jury remains out on the younger Brown, even though the 25-year-old outfielder sounded enthused by his progress during his 2012 exit interview.
"I feel very comfortable out there offensively and defensively," Brown said. "I didn't hit average-wise where I want to, but everything else was OK. Other than that, man, I'm just out there having fun. I'm very hungry and very energetic."
Brown, after going 0 for 4 and failing to run out a grounder back to the mound in the sixth inning of the season finale, hit .235 with five home runs and 26 RBIs in 56 games. Those are not numbers that should make Brown feel comfortable, especially with Amaro expected to spend a lot of cash in free agency this winter.
Some players did make the most of their opportunities.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon was so impressed by his young bullpen mates that he predicted the Phillies could have the best relief staff in baseball next season.
"If we're not the top bullpen in Major League Baseball, we'll definitely be the top in the National League," he said. "That's just the way I look at it."
Among the young position players, nobody gave the Phillies more to think about than Darin Ruf, who knocked in 10 runs in 11 games, including all five of his team's runs during the three-game series with the Nationals.
"Oh, there is going to be some changes, definitely," Rollins said. "There are some issues that have to be addressed. I know we're probably going to try to find a righthanded hitter. Ruf came up and he definitely is going to make decisions tough for guys.
"But there are going to be guys out there . . . and we'll see who we end up with. But for the most part, the team isn't going to be that much different as far as the everyday players and the regular pieces."
Good health would be a good start for the 2013 Phillies, but that won't matter if good decisions are not made by Amaro during this offseason.
Contact Bob Brookover at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @brookob.