Friday, October 10, 2008

Maybe This Year?

I know that I usually hate all sports things Philadelphia. Mostly because of the booing. But I can't help but wonder if maybe this is the year for the Phillies. And I hate to admit it, but I'm happy for them. Maybe over two years of living in this city has worn me down or maybe I just like to see the team that never wins have something good happen to them for a change. I know what baseball heartbreak feels like, and I can sympathize.

The Phillies are by far the most likable team in Philadelphia. And the fans seem to have moved past the days when they threw batteries at players. Sure, they still boo. But it seems like it happens less often. Maybe it's just the optimism of Philly this year. It seems like for the first time, people actually believe the Phillies can pull this off. While watching the game last night, I was pretty sure it was all over. Lowe was pitching like a machine. He looked unhittable. But then an error on a throw to first base, a home run and two batter later another home run gave Philly the lead they wouldn't relinquish.

I was surprised by the stat the Phillies are perfect when leading at the end of the 8th inning. Maybe that's not that weird. But as an Orioles fan, I wish I could say that. Because, I usually go into the ninth inning with a sense of dread. No lead is ever safe. But the Phillies are a different matter. They played a great game and didn't get rattled when they were down by two.

So could this be it? Could this be the year the Philadelphia sports breaks the curse of building higher than William Penn on City Hall? It doesn't look like the Eagles are going to do it. Not in the brutal NFC East. The Flyers looked good last year but hockey season is long and just getting started. So who knows what's going to happen. I have no idea what the predictions for the Sixers are. Frankly, its the NBA so I don't really care either. But the Phillies, I find myself rooting for. They really are fun to watch.

I don't know what I'll do if it's a Phillies-Rays World Series. Which underdog team to cheer for? It might be the Rays. I admire the way they've turned things around. And I like the way they celebrate every win and every milestone. They seem to really appreciate that just getting this far is great. But somehow this seems like the Phillies year. I can't explain it. But the feeling is palpable in the city. For the first time since I've been there, it seems there's actual hope.

This team and city have faced so much heartache. Last year they made the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, only to be swept in the first round. Now this year could end crushing defeat, the AL East has a way of doing that to hopeful teams. Look at the way the Red Sox dismantled the seemingly unstoppable Rockies last year. But I know one thing. If the Red Sox beat out the Rays. I'm becoming a Phillies phan. Even if it's just for these playoffs.