It had been a long time since I’ve given even a hint of a hoot about Major League Baseball, but I heard a TV sports announcer mention the Phillies and postseason in the same segment, and I was curious. Seemed the Fightin’ Phils were headed into a battle
for a wild card spot or something like that. I stumbled across a game one evening (or was it afternoon?) and I believe they were playing the Cardinals. I changed the channel to something else almost immediately, but evidently the Phillies won that game and one or two more, which qualified them to go on to the National League Division Series.
I used to know a lot more about baseball than I do now, but I understand the NLDS determines which teams play each other in the National League Championship Series to determine which team plays against the winner of the corresponding American League Championship Series, which culminates in the World Series. That’s seriously a lot of “series” to get through!
My interest increased and I thought I should watch a game. By this time, the Phils were playing the Braves and John Smoltz was one of the announcers. (Sidebar: My Hubby was a true Phillies fan. It didn’t matter if they were at the top of the standings or at the bottom, he followed them. If the Phillies were playing, he was watching or listening to the game. He attended games when he could, including one of the miracle 1980 World Series games.) Anyway, I remember John Smoltz as a member of the Braves team in his playing career, so when I saw him on the TV screen a couple of weeks ago, I gave him a silent “boo.”
As I looked at the players in this contest, I had a Twilight Zone moment. Had I stumbled upon a dream sequence in “Duck Dynasty” in which the bearded, long-haired Robertson brothers were re-enacting “Field of Dreams” in Phillies uniforms? No. Beards and hair are part of today’s look. (Long gone are the days of Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Garry Maddox, Bake McBride, Bob Boone, et al.) Anyway, the Phillies managed to defeat the Braves and their postseason march continued.
Baseball memories came flooding back. I smiled recalling the baseball pools we had at work. (Could we have been fired for those?) I thought about Mom asking me to get her in some of those pools. (The only time she cared about baseball) I remembered attending my first Major League Baseball game and almost every one that followed. I again felt the electricity in the air at my first playoff game, my first and only All-Star game and my only World Series game. I could almost hear Harry Kalas declare “That ball is out of here! Homerun Michael Jack Schmidt!” And I wondered if the “Billy” Penn statue atop City Hall was wearing its Phillies cap.
Each of those memories exist because of the Phillies. And when the Phils won their game Sunday, I almost wished I was there to share in the joy. I say “almost” because I remembered what the traffic was like getting out of the City of Brotherly Love following a sporting event.
And now the team from eastern Pennsylvania goes to the World Series and people are dancing in the streets where Ben Franklin once walked.
Maybe they’ll win and maybe they won’t.
Either way, the Phillies sparked some wonderful memories for me and, if you’re a baseball fan, perhaps this run for the pennant sparked some for you, too.
The World Series starts Friday. I suggest you stock up on peanuts in the shell, a hot dog or two, some soft pretzels and your favorite beverages to wash ‘em all down while you watch the Fightin’ Phils attempt to go the distance.
It’ll be the next best thing to being there.