I can’t say when my love for the Phils began, just as I can’t say when I started to talk, walk, and all of the other important things that are basic in life. They have always been there, as essential as breathing. I could say I love them because I was born in Philly, but then I should feel the same for the Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers, but I don’t. Baseball appeals to me in an almost spiritual way, which is probably why I have a Sunday ticket plan.
Listening to the game on the radio in the backyard is a special memory that I hold of the Fightin’s and my dad. Dad was one of the few optimistic Philly fans. He never booed the pinstipes, and rarely the opponent. “You can’t blame the other guy for winning because that’s his job too. We’ll get them next time.” Even at their worst, he taught me, “They may be bums, but they’re our bums.” I can’t spend those times with Dad anymore. He passed away in 1989. He never got to watch the 93 Phils or the 08 World Series, but I felt him with me as I shared those days with my son.
My son was born into a city of champions in February of 1981. The Sixers, Flyers, and Eagles all went to their respective championships the previous seasons, and the Phillies were the reigning World Series Champs! He cut his teeth while learning to cheer for the Phillies. Mike Schmidt was, and is his favorite all time athlete. We picked the Sunday plan because of the giveaways when he was little, and kept them long after he passed the kiddie stage because they were such special times for a mother and son to share our love of the game. Our hearts were both broken by Joe Carter’s homerun, and healed by Brad Lidge’s final strike out of Eric Hinske. Standing at Citizen’s Bank Park with in the cool October night, watching the boys of summer become the legends of the phall, is one of my most precious memories.
This season has been more of a challenge, but there have been some great moments sprinkled throughout. Cole Hamels has been amazing, Pap has 30 saves, Frandsen and Kratz – who knew? – have added a spark. I get frustrated at times, but my son, perhaps channeling my dad, tells me to go out to the back room and look at the five banners hanging from our rafters. Five banners – Three white, one blue, and one brilliant red – remind me of the best times. We get them next time, and I haven’t given up on this year yet either.