Saturday, November 1, 2008
This blog has taken a break from talking about politics, religion, and culture for over a week now while my beloved Philadelphia Phillies were playing in and winning the World Series. Now, the parade is over, and what a parade it was! The foul weather that we endured in the Series games broke for warmth and sunshine on Victory Parade day in Philly, and millions turned out for the celebration, overwhelming public transportation and jamming the roads to join a tremendously joyful, peaceful celebration on Broad Street. For me, this has been a twice in a lifetime event. I was not only alive to enjoy the 1980 season, but I was a full-blown 18-year old fan who had been attending games at 'The Vet' for years, watching the club on TV, following them in the papers. My heroes were named Schmidt, Carlton, McGraw, Luzinski, Bowa, Boone, Maddox, McBride, Trillo, Ruthven, Reed, Bystrom, Brusstar, Green, Owens, Ashburn, Kallas, and even a big, fuzzy, wide-eyed thing born in the late 70's and still beloved throughout the region known to us simply as 'The Phanatic'. This past week and a half, I have felt that same joy. This 2008 Phillies World Series champion has reached that exact same level of respect. In 1993, when I was a 31-year old man still playing the game myself and having just gone through many major changes in my life, another Phillies team came along who caught mine and everyone else in this area's hearts. They may not have had Hall of Famers playing for them, and they fell just short in their shot at a World Series title, but they were much more fun and lovable than the '80 squad. Their names were Kruk, Daulton, Dykstra, Hollins, Schilling, Williams, Incaviglia, Eisenreich, Stocker, Thompson, and a big lug of a manager who in a couple years would hit on my wife right in front of me named Jim Fregosi. What this 2008 bunch did was something that seemed impossible. They combined the skill and greatness of the 1980 team with the fun and pleasure of the 1993 team, beat both of them for drama, and became perhaps the greatest Phillies team of all-time, at least on a par with that '80 club. For the rest of our lives we will remember the names: Utley, Hamels, Howard, Rollins, Lidge, Burrell, Moyer, Myers, Victorino, Werth, Ruiz, Feliz, Dobbs, Coste, Blanton, Madson, Romero, Jenkins, Bruntlett, Durbin, Condrey, Stairs, Kendrick, Gillick, and that old, overweight, country boy of a manager named Charlie Manuel. There is only one thing left to say before cutting off the baseball talk, and getting back to the important topic of the Presidential election that is now just a few days away. That one final things is: 'Thank you, Philadelphia Phillies, for the fun, the thrill, the joy, and the victory!" Man, did we ever need that.