16 October 2008 by Published in: General News 5 comments

The Philadelphia PhilliesI’m 47 years old, and a lifelong Philadelphia sports fanatic. It’s been 25 years since a Philly pro team won a world championship. In my lifetime, there have only been 5 of them (2 by the Flyers in 1974 and 1975, 2 by the 76’ers in 1967 and 1983, and the Phillies in 1980). Consequently, a true Philly sports fan is defined by pain and suffering and heartbreak. We know suffering, and we know heartbreak. “There’s always next year” is the constant refrain. In 1973, the 76’ers went 9-73 for the season, the worst record for a professional team ever. The Phillies are best known as the only team in the history of professional sports to roll up 10,000 losses, a dubious record of futility at best. The other defining moment in Phillies history is the epic collapse of 1964, when they had a 6.5 game lead with 12 to play, lost 10 in a row, and finished third. That’s also not a happy memory.

With such a history of heartache, it’s often hard to get excited about it when teams do have good seasons. A few years ago, when the Eagles went to the Super Bowl, I was very blase about it, because I knew they weren’t going to win. It’s hard not to be terribly cynical about it when you’ve been disappointed so many times.

At the same time, few memories of my youth are more vivid than watching Tug McGraw strike out Willie Wilson to end the 1980 World Series and the joyous chaos that erupted as the Phightin’ Phils won the only championship in franchise history. I was 19 years old, and I always thought that there would be more such moments. I was wrong.

Last night, for only the sixth time in the 125 year history of the Philadelphia Phillies, they won the National League pennant and are headed to the World Series! Completing an utter domination of a scrappy Los Angeles Dodgers team, the Phillies won 5-1 behind the dominant pitching of Cole Hamels, Ryan Madsen, and Brad Lidge and slammed the door on the rest of the National League.

Somewhere, the late, great Tug McGraw’s Irish eyes are twinkling this morning, he’s patting his heart as he always did after a narrow escape, and he’s saying “YA GOTTA BELIEVE!”

This time, I do.

LET’S GO PHILLIES!!!!! Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Ken Noe
    Thu 16th Oct 2008 at 10:22 am

    Congrats again, and thanks for “scrappy.”

  2. Thu 16th Oct 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Enjoy every minute of it my friend.

  3. Brooks Simpson
    Thu 16th Oct 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Tug McGraw was first a Met. 🙂

    “Ya Gotta Believe” was his rallying cry in 1973 … before 1980. Which, of course, was the year the Islanders beat the Flyers to win the first of four consecutive Stanley Cups.

    Gotta get the history down.

  4. Thu 16th Oct 2008 at 6:24 pm

    During the regular season I always root for my Cardinals. Part of my family inheritance. All the partisan stuff against the other teams (even the Cubs) stops in the World Series. National League must win!

    Hopefully we won’t see a Ken Singleton drawing a walk to tie the game, or a Joe Carter walk off HR.

  5. graffiti
    Fri 17th Oct 2008 at 12:48 pm

    I was 20 in 1980. After suffering through the Cookie Rojas years,and the almost’s of the late 70’s, 1980 was a veery good year. I knew this would be the year, but like all Phillie fans, they at times gave me doubt. My wife (a Dodger fan) has been relegated to the small TV for the duration. I have been waiting for this moment too since 1993. Many in my office are from the Philadelphia (I work in DC) and we are on top of the world! I cannot wait for Wednesday night!

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