Phillies fans knew going in that this was going to be a painful October because it did not include their favorite team for the first time since 2006, when Pat Gillick was still the general manager and Brett Myers the staff ace.
Back then, it was customary for the Phillies to miss the playoffs. They had been doing it for years - 12 of them to be exact. The Phillies finished seventh among the 16 teams in attendance that year, failing to draw three million fans for the second straight year at Citizens Bank Park.
Those days seem long ago, but this month has been a cruel and potent reminder of what life is like without postseason baseball. The contributions of so many former Phillies have only driven the point home.
Werth had his moment for the Washington Nationals with his walk-off home run in Game 4 of the National League division series against St. Louis. Ibanez found the fountain of youth with the New York Yankees with three postseason home runs, including two in one unforgettable game against Baltimore.
The casual Phillies fan may not realize that Vogelsong, a Kutztown University product, pitched at triple-A Lehigh Valley as recently as the 2010 season - he was 2-5 with a 4.91 ERA - before becoming an all-star with the Giants. He is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in this postseason with both wins coming against the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series.
Pence, dealt to the Giants at the trade deadline because the Phillies didn't think he was worth the $15 million or so he'll receive in salary arbitration this winter, had mostly been quiet this postseason. Then in the third inning of Game 7 against the Cardinals on Monday night, he hit a ground ball to shortstop that was misplayed into a game-changing double in the Giants' 9-0 win.
Outfielder Quintin Berry, a fifth-round draft pick in 2006, is the only member of the Tigers with Phillies ties, and you get extra credit if you can remember anything about his minor-league career.
The Tigers, however, are managed by Jim Leyland, and a lot of people probably remember his Phillies connection.
He was the manager just about every Phillies fan on the planet wanted former general manager Ed Wade to hire as Larry Bowa's replacement after the 2004 season. The Phillies could have had Leyland, too. He wanted them, but Wade opted for Manuel, who had already been working with the Phillies as a special assistant to the GM.
It's interesting to go back and read what was being written about Leyland and Manuel in 2004. One city columnist suggested that Manuel ranked sixth among the candidates Wade could have chosen to replace Bowa as manager. Leyland was first on the columnist's list. Another columnist compared passing on Leyland to turning down a plea from Pavarotti to sing at your birthday party.
Leyland, after one more year working as a scout with the Cardinals, took the Detroit job after the 2005 season. The Tigers went from 71 wins under manager Alan Trammell to 95 wins and an American League pennant in 2006. It did not matter that they fell apart in the Fall Classic and lost to a Cardinals team that had won only 83 games in the regular season.
Most people in Philadelphia still were wishing that the Phillies had hired Leyland.
A poll of Phillies fans as the 2012 World Series begins would be interesting.
Since 2007, Manuel has led the Phillies to five National League East titles, two National League pennants, and a World Series title. His regular-season record is 727-569, a .561 winning percentage. Leyland is 607-528 with Detroit, a .535 winning percentage.
In his tenure with the Tigers, Leyland has won two American League Central titles and two American League pennants with a chance in the next nine days to add a World Series title. Manuel's resumé with the Phillies will be better regardless of which team wins this World Series.
Even if you have the postseason blues because you did not see any Phillies red this October, it's impossible to say that Wade made the wrong choice in hiring Manuel or that Gillick made the wrong decision in keeping him around.
Contact Bob Brookover at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @brookob on Twitter.