So here we are, October 27, potentially the final game of the 2008 campaign for the Phillies. And what a campaign — with a win, they’ll be the king of the baseball world. World Champions. Wow.
This hasn’t sunken in. Not yet. And it won’t sink in immediately if they win. It may take a couple days. It’s gone so fast, and yet so slow. I can remember sitting on my front lawn, laptop and beer at my side, watching the Phils play the Braves in a mid-summer Turner Field contest. Felt like yesterday.
Now we’re here. Right here. An entire city awaits, ready to explode if the score favors the Phils. I can’t even imagine the scene tonight, if it happens.
If it happens.
Ah, the old doubt, the old worry. Hey, there’s still a game to be played.
At this point, there’s so much to write, but my thought balloons pop and my words come out garbled and messy. This is a completely new feeling. A new feeling for practically all of us. It’s exciting, and it’s nerve-wracking, and it’s antsy, and it’s out-of-body. But it’s real. It’s all real. The impact this team has had on us is real, and it’s greater than most things we encounter each and every day. That’s why we’re so passionate. That’s why we care.
If it ends tonight, I’ll cry. I know it. I’ll cry with unbridled, unchained happiness, and I’ll cry to my dad, who took me to over 100 games between the Vet and the Bank. I’ll cry to my brothers, who spilled blood over this team along with me. I’ll cry to my friends, who doubted and questioned and cheered with me too. At some point, though, I’ll cry sadness. I don’t want this to end.
I don’t mean the series. No, no, let’s win tonight. But I’m going to miss this team, this 2008 team. They’ve won me over completely. I care. I absolutely care. When the feeling starts to sink in and the realization rings true, I’ll feel sad that this team may not be the same team next year.
And that’s why this team has to win it, and tonight, here in Philly. For Matt Stairs and Geoff Jenkins, guys who truly deserve the win after their careers have faded. For the younger guys and foundation guys, who played their rears off down the stretch.
But mainly for two guys. For Pat Burrell, who may be playing his final game as a member of the Phillies tonight. One of the franchise greats, and one of the all-around great guys, he truly deserves this. And here. He bleeds Philly the way we bleed Philly.
And for Jamie Moyer. Of course. Who knows if he returns next year, but heck, if I’m Moyer and this ends tonight, I end it here. I go out on top, parading down Broad Street with my hometown team. Full circle. If that’s the case, boy, what a beautiful career. And what a beautiful man.
If it happens.
They have a game to play tonight. And to a man, they should play the best baseball of their lives tonight. Leave it all out there. Take it from the start. Rip it apart, streak away. Win it for Charlie. Win it for us. Win it for Philly. Win it for you.