The Phillies won the World Series. The Phillies won the World Series. Hey, I'm not sure if you heard or not, but THE PHILLIES WON THE WORLD SERIES!
As you may or may not know, I'm a Jersey girl. South Jersey. Which is to all intents and purposes a different state from North Jersey, but that's a whole different post. My town was one of many in Jersey where if you lived there, your dad quite possibly commuted to Philly for work. Mine did. Philly was the city my family went to when I was growing up - it was only about 30 minutes away. We'd take day trips to the city and go to Independence Hall and Gimbels and the Franklin Institute and the Please Touch Museum* and from the time I was five or six, at least once a year, we'd go to the Vet and watch a Phillies game.
I was born in '77, which means I don't remember the World Series that the Phillies won in 1980, but I do remember the Series they dropped to the Orioles in '83. I was in first grade and my teacher wrote the scores on the blackboard and our little six-year-old hearts broke a little when they lost. But we would get used to it. We grew up Phillies fans.
The first game I ever saw at the Vet was quite possibly in that '83 season or possibly the following summer. I was carrying this cute turquoise and purple purse with pandas on it that my buddy Squirt McStravic had given me for my birthday**. The game was rained out, which is also something I remember happening with some degree of frequency when I attended ball games. I left my purse in my seat when we ran from the rain. My father, God bless him, went back in the rain to try to find it but the pouring rain was accompanied by hurricane force winds and the purse was gone. C'est la vie. In addition to being a great guy who got soaked looking for his little girl's purse and took us to Phillies games at least once a year, my dad would often get me an ice cream sundae in a little plastic helmet. Good times. But I never saw them win. We went to the Vet at least once a year from the time I was five or six. Even after we moved to Florida, we'd often catch a game at the Vet when we went back to Jersey in the summer to visit family. Plus, the Phillies do Spring Training in Clearwater, so sometimes we'd see them there.
You wanna know how old I was before I saw the Phillies win? Any guesses?
23. Yes, I attended at least one game a year from the time I was six and I was 23 before I saw them win a game. My brothers are convinced I'm a jinx. Like the fact that the Phils have more losses than anyone else in professional sports history has nothing to do with it! Games were fun, though. Often, we'd go with friends. Every year, my church went to a game. And I loved the ballpark and the music and the ice cream and the wave. The Vet was a great space for the wave, which was fortuitous, because the Phillies were a team that needed it frequently. (I once went to a game that went sixteen innings at Yankees stadium. Around inning 11, I tried to start the wave, and they were having none of it. I got yelled at. Party poopers.) As a Phillies fan, the wave is one of my favorite things about baseball. Some Phillies fans might be conditioned by the 10,000+ losses to just accept that we'll probably lose in the end, but not me. I believe in fighting to the end. It's not over 'til it's over, and if you're gonna go down, you may as well go down swinging. As far as I'm concerned, it's the Philadelphia way.
My youngest brother was born in '84. He wasn't even alive when they won, or when they lost to the O's. He's a die-hard, lifetime fan, though. For a large chunk of his childhood, he had his room painted white with a red chair rail and a Phillies border around the top. The '93 loss to Toronto was rough for him. I know he's a happy boy today, and that there are thousands like him. I also like to think of the first graders now whose teachers write the scores on the board and get to remember us winning!
EG was telling me something about the curse of Billy Penn. It's not a really long-standing curse, and like most sports curses, the dates don't quite line up. One Liberty Place didn't go up until four years after the last time a Philly team won a sports championship, but I guess it's a good story, and it's neat that the curse was broken after they put a mini Penn statue up on the tallest building in the city, on some radio antenna or something. If you wanna know more, click the link. You gotta think though - the franchise was founded in 1883. The Phillies are actually the longest one name, one city team in professional sports. So it took them 97 years to win their first World Series. To win another only 28 years later...we're doing pretty well, I'd say.
The other thing is that I don't see a whole lot of people jumping on this bandwagon. If we started to repeat like the Red Sox, that'd be cool, but I don't necessarily see it happening. I know there may not be another Phillies fan among our regular readers, but this is a victory that makes a lot of lifelong, very loyal fans happy. And I'm happy to be one of them.
*Not that kind of touch. Minds out of the gutter, people!
**He had given an identical purse, only in pink, to the most popular girl in our class, whose birthday was five days after mine. Why, oh why, is this the kind of stuff I remember?