Friday, September 28, 2007

Phillies Phever

David Maialetti/Daily News (players graphic added)
"Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world." Babe Ruth
Oh. My. God. The Phillies are tied for Phirst!

I don't know what it is about Philly and our sports teams, but together they form a palpable, living entity.

Civic pride, self-image, sometimes even friendships and relationships rise and fall with our teams. Especially the Eagles and the Phils.

They keep us on the edge. Our fists clench. Our pulses pound. We hold our breath, then let it out in howls. I watched the Eagles play in the Super Bowl with my son and his friends in 2004. Even furious at the loss, the experience was extreme. Electric.

Today's generation can't begin to imagine the Phillies in a World Series. I can.

I've been so busy whining about my age that I forgot one of the benefits of being a Baby Boomer: I saw the Phillies make it to the World Series twice. And win once.

My husband (who was just my bf then) was at The Vet for Game 6 to see Tug McGraw throw that final strike to win the 1980 World Series. I watched on TV with friends.

It's entirely possible some of us have permanent throat damage from screaming for Our Team. Nothing was like that day. Nothing.

We watched the heartbreaking loss in 1993 on TV in stunned disbelief as "Wild Thing" Mitch Williams' seemingly perfect strike became Joe Carter's series-winning 2-run homer for Toronto.

Though it was hard to lose, it was hard to love the 93 Phillies the way we loved the boys of 1980. And they way we've come to love our Fightins now.

If you think about it, today's team has more in common with that 1980 team. Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Garry Maddox, Lonnie Smith, Steve Carlton, the Tugger. And yes, Larry Bowa too.

Veterans and rookies working together to make it happen. Scrappy. Determined. Resilient. Most of them likeable. Some heroic. All of them hungry. And, like the fans, not willing to give up.

No matter what happens, we've had the most fun since 1980 with our 2007 team. Finally.

They've brought us back to that 1980 slogan --and more important-- the feeling You Gotta Believe.

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Anonymous Beth said...

In 1980 I tended bar in the Mayors box to get to go and also saw that famous last pitch pretty close up. Also staffed one of the semis in the parade. Just found a relic from that – A piece of paper with the parade route autographed by Tug McGraw!!

12:11 PM  

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