For most of the season, the Phillies have been winning for their fans, their baseball-crazed fans who could tell you about Lou Marson, or could tell you that the Phils once had Brad Harman on the 25-man roster.
Sometime in the postseason, maybe after Shane Victorino clobbered CC Sabathia’s Brewers career, things shifted. More Philadelphians involved themselves in the Phils’ run, the media started jumping on the team, Phillie fever had taken hold.
And now that the Phillies are in the World Series, the city and surrounding areas are clearly red. Now it’s cool to be a Phillie fan again. Now the fairweathers come out, the bandwagoners, the students, etc. Heck, I saw this myself when living in Boston in 2004. Once the Sox took down the Yankees, everyone was a Red Sox fan.
I could take the low road and say this is annoying, that, ‘oh, now EVERYONE likes the Phillies.’ But I won’t, because there’s more at play here — there’s a reason for this hysteria:
The Phillies are now playing for the city.
Face it, we know there’s this “curse,” or whatever you want to call it, hanging over our heads. There’s that 1983 Sixers title staring us right in the pupils.
And beyond that we see Ryne Sandberg being shipped to Chicago; Pelle Lindberg’s tragic death; Charles Barkley being traded for lunch money; Jerome Brown’s tragic death; Joe Carter’s leap along the first-base line; Sergei Federov netting another goal for the Red Wings; Robert Horry sinking a jump shot; Donovan McNabb throwing an interception, and another interception, and another interception, and another interception.
Twenty-five years of turmoil, dejection, heartbreak, anger, sadness. Countless names — Steve Jeltz, Todd Pinkston — that did nothing … countless names — Eric Lindros, Allen Iverson — that should’ve done so much more.
Suddenly it’s the Phillies turn to once again attempt and break the cycle. It’s their turn to hand a city its reward for living through the madness. Add in years of heinous crimes, political storm clouds and, yes, being really ugly and fat, and you have a city itching, begging, pleading for a win.
In fact, one of our own said it best:
“We need just one victory, and we’ll be alright”
— Todd Rundgren
Suddenly the Phillies need that one victory, a World Series title. You can bet if they do that, this town will be alright.