Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Here We Go! . . .


So some of you have been wondering about my silence regarding my beloved Phillies. It's called caution. And it's a caution that's grown out of experience. You have to remember, my two most vivid early cultural memories were the assassination of JFK in 1963 (Second grade), and the late-season collapse of my beloved 1964 Phillies (Third grade). For what it's worth, 1965's personal tragedy arrived in the form of having a girl push me face-first into my locker, which resulted in the loss of a front tooth, which in turn has resulted in dozens of hours in the dental chair and thousands of dollars in dental bills in the years since.

But all of that's forgotten - mostly - this morning as I sit in anticipation of our first World Series appearance in 15 years, and maybe - just maybe - our second World Championship in 126 years. I've been quiet because the Phils had to get past the Dodgers. I happened to be in California while the Phillies were playing there. My buddy Chap Clark, a Dodgers' fan, sent me a stream of harassing text messages beginning with "Dodgers in 4!" That was followed up with "Dodgers in 5!", "Dodgers in 6!", "Dodgers in 7!", and then finally, "Rockies in 8!" (which was the equivalent of a white flag).

So now we're there. My antique Phillies Bobblehead
- purchased at Connie Mack Stadium during the aforementioned 1964 - is sitting happily on my desk this morning. . . . even though he has a broken neck. And I'm especially excited as Lisa and I were able to be in the stands during what many in the Philly media are calling one of the greatest nights in Phillies baseball history (thank you Chris. . . I still owe you a kiss for that!). We watched as Brett Myers rattled C.C. Sabathia and got the fans all riled up in a maddened frenzy. Even better, we got to see Victorino (is there anyone more fun to watch in MLB today?) hit that slam. I was only able to watch on TV when the Tugger jumped off the mound with his arms in the air back in 1980. I can say I was there when Victorino's picture - which will live on in Philly sports history - was snapped. You know what made it even better? I had just finished downing a Philly cheesesteak when he got that hit. Does it get any better than that?

Sadly, I'm getting on the turnpike in a couple of hours to head west to Pittsburgh. I'll be watching tonight's game in the comfort of a lonely hotel room. Doggone it! It was a joy to stay up late with Josh to watch the Phils win the pennant the other night. He was sad, very sad, when as a seven-year-old the Phils lost in '93. I wish I could watch with him and the rest of the family tonight. Oh well. If we win, we're going to the parade!

So. . . a couple of thoughts to put it all in perspective. First, let me sound like a follower of the Phils: Does anybody out there think Tampa deserves this? Come on. The franchise is only 10 years old. Not 126. And, isn't this the franchise with the fans who didn't start showing up until. . . last week? Oh, so NOW you like your team?!? I'm sorry. I'm a part of a team following that's consistently been labeled the most loyal and knowledgable fans in baseball. you have to be when you endure your share of losses from the professional sports franchise that holds the record for more lossess than any other. Let me enjoy being a "homer" for a little while.

Second, let me speak to the World Series from the perspective of a follower of Christ. Baseball's a great thing that we need to embrace and enjoy. The image of God shines through in the game's strategy, order, beauty, and athleticism. But just remember, if you're a Phillies fan and the Phillies win, it won't last. It won't make life any better. Oh, it will be fun. But the momentary thrill of victory (which I long to experience again!)is no substitute for the joy of ultimate redemption. In other words, the ache that was there for fans who live for Phils, will come back sooner than next season's first pitch is thrown. And if we lose. . . well, it's not the end of the world. Yes, we need perspective.

Now. . . one last thing. . . . Hey Chap. . . . Phillies in four!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Walt;

Neshaminy '82 grad, now living in Kansas, rooting along with you! I too have been quiet and not bragging about their success. I'm a born Philly pessemist when it comes to our teams. Look at the track record.

I think this their year however. I disagree with all the press that says its going to go 7 and the week off will hurt the Phils. I believe they are pretty focused and on a mission. Lets hope. Phils in 5.

Hey, I appreciate what you do with CPYU, I'm a Christian radio announcer, and some of your resources have been invaluable to me over the years.

Thanks

Bill Lurwick
www.kjil.com
www.newreleasetuesday.com

Tim and Kari Burke said...

Walt, come on now. I am a tried and true baseball fan. My original loyalties go to the St. Louis Cardinals where I was raised. Now that's a baseball town! I have lived in Tampa for 11 years now and have been a fan of the Rays since the start of the franchise. I do admit, there are quite a few FAIR WEATHER FANS out here in Tampa. I would even say that just about everyone, but me and a few others, is a fair weather fan. But, you have to give the Rays a little credit. They were the worst team in baseball. They were up against the biggest payrolls in the big leagues. And they conquered them all. The only thing left is to beat the Phillies!

Deb said...

Walt, I heard you at Pine Richland Elementary last night. Great talk! I told my friends I'd be leaving early in order to be home for the first pitch. (But I couldn't bear to leave early!)

I'm a lifelong Phillies fan, transplanting to Pittsburgh in 1986. Still listen to every game via mlb.com. I hope you're home to enjoy a few games on TV with your family. We're grateful to have you in Pittsburgh now!

Deb Holt