The Phillies and Rays - two great teams, two losers turned winners. What’s not to like about this years Fall Classic? History aside - Someone is going to win this thing and their once-suffering fans will be rewarded at last.
Speaking of fans……… The national media, besides being sour on this “less-than-marquee” match-up, have given Phillies fans (Phans, for short) a bum rap. They deserve way better. Here’s why……..
Phans are passionate. Phans love this team no matter what. Their ballpark was packed for nearly every game starting in April. Contrast this to the cowbell crowd in Tampa (with all due respect to Dickie V.) who didn’t seem to embrace their amazing Rays until the media did well into September.
Phans are very knowledgable. They know their baseball and they understand what each situation calls for. They expect execution (moving runners over, scoring from third with less than two out, hitting the cut-off man, etc) and when they get it, they show their appreciation. And when they don’t, they boo. Phans have open honest communication with their team - what’s not to like about that?
Finally, Phans are very very hungry. They have one title in 126 seasons and among their 10,000-plus losses are some very excruciating ones - more so than the fledgling Rays recent in-game collapse against the Sox. “Been there, done that”, said many a Phan last Thursday after the Rays’ game 5 meltdown that extended the ALCS. Phillies collapses have a place in city lore. It’s the Phan’s badge of honor to have lived through it all and still come back for more - year after year after year.
Year after year, Phans hoped for the best,……….. but expected the worst.
But the 2008 Phillies seem different. Things are going their way: they are 86-0 when leading in the ninth inning and on top of that, they had 6 ninth-inning rallies that turned defeat into victory. And the ball seems to be bouncing their way more than not - Spectacular double plays to end games, leaping game-saving catches in the outfield, game-ending fly balls dropped by opponents to open the door to an improbable victory.
Whoa - is 2008 something special?
To reprise the Tugger from 1980, Can Phans dare to believe………Again?
Here’s one Phan’s musical tribute. Click down a bit to the video. It starts out slow but gets you stomping at the end.