October 7th, 2009


Baseball in October

Anyone who has read my LJ pages for most of the past seven years know that during the first two-thirds of this decade, the Phillies were an annual source of considerable angst for me during the month of September. They constantly teased by remaining right in the mix to garner a postseason spot, but always seemed to come up short in the final week of the season. It was especially painful in the couple seasons where they actually controlled their own destiny and then went down in flames.

The 2007 season brought a reversal of those fortunes. Thanks in part to a late season collapse from the Mets that eclipsed the debacle that took place at 20th & Lehigh in 1964, on the last day of the season the Phillies clinched their first division title (and first postseason appearance) in 14 years. It happened in the height of a very trying period of my life, and I was amazingly thankful to actually have been able to watch the game on TV from my home in Herndon,VA. Numerous times before that day, I said I was glad to be a Phillies fan during this day and age because technology now makes it possible to be a fan from outside the team's actual home region, and that day made me more glad of that than ever. Watching the Phillies clinch the division in almost the same manner in 2008 was just as sweet. However, it paled next to the amazing run that they would go on to win the World Series.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch all of last week's pennant-clinching performance, but once again, thanks to today's technology and over-abundance of cable channels, I was able to watch the last couple outs of the game live. It wasn't the excitement-inducing experience of the past couple seasons, but I still greatly appreciated it. Even in this age of baseball, winning three straight division titles is no small feat, and through the sheer luck of when I happened to be born, I experienced the Golden Age of Phillies Baseball (1976-1983) as a boy, and I'm now experiencing a second age that potentially could rival or even surpass the first. For most of my life (that Golden Age ended when I was 11), this team considered the season a success if it managed to play .500 ball. Hell, just nine years ago, the Phillies notched their seventh straight losing season. After the especially stinging disappointments of 2005 & 2006 (which in some ways were worse than the teams from that horrid seven-year stretch), the transformation of the club into the team it is now still doesn't feel completely real.

I know I cannot expect the Phillies to win back-to-back World Series, nor am I doing so. A National League team has won back-to-back World Series titles only three times in baseball history, and it's harder to do today than it was when the Reds last did it in 1975-76. However, I will enjoy this postseason as much as possible, and no matter what happens, I will be just as thankful for the 2009 Phillies as I was last year's club.
  • Current Music
    "Heroes," The Wallflowers