Yes they did not make the playoffs, we all realize that was a missing part, but other than the 1976-1983 run and a small run in the 1960s under Gene Mauch (whose teams always missed the playoffs as well), no Phillies’ teams have come close to having the success of 2001-2010. Had Pat Gillick been at the helm instead of Ed Wade during some of those Bowa years we may have had a few extra playoff appearances too. It’s a moot point but it sure shows how much value a good front office can mean to a team.
Now with a rotation of aces, a squad of players who seem hungry to avenge last year’s defeat, this organization who transformed itself from guaranteed loser to a perennial powerhouse has a fan base that not only looks forward to the rites of spring, but they also celebrate it. It could be the winning that brings this all out, but then again it could be that everyone is also sick of the snow and sleet and know spring training means all of that disgusting white stuff will be going back home to the North Pole where it belongs.
Personal note on this dynasty
I missed the 60s teams but was alive during the 1970s-1980s run. I got to experience that at a young age. I was also around the experience of lightning in a bottle in 1993 when Toronto broke our hearts. I, myself, have always had a soft spot for the Blue Jays, they were my favorite AL team, but the results were still heartbreaking. During that series I was 100% Phillies faithful. In 2001 a gentle giant named Jeff Lamana, who was a close friend of mine, came to me with an idea. Let’s start a place where people can discuss Philly sports. We built it. It is now ten years later and the Philly sports scene since have been mostly good. Like I said for the Phillies, it has been more than just good. I have had so much fun following the team in this span and I do wish Jeff were still here to have seen it all.
Over the years I have come to know many people whose passion is Philly sports. Some great relationships were formed over that time. Some were also bad but they do not deserve much mention or time other than an acknowledgment that not everything is always rosy and nice. I think the best part of all of this, is that in 2008, my father, who was diagnosed as terminal with COPD and various coronary and pulmonary issues, and I got to experience one more world championship together. He took me and my brother to a game on my birthday that Maddox won in the 9th vs the Expos, the NLCS, and the World Series in 1980 and I was not sure we would ever get to see another championship together. The Phillies granted that wish. Today, despite being told by doctors he was going to die he is still going on with his life back in PA. Hooked to an oxygen machine for years he still goes about his daily business. The good news is he actually seems stronger at times now. Baseball has often been called a sport that bonds fathers and sons. When I called my dad right after the signing was announced and told him Cliff Lee was once again a Phillie and we had a rotation of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, and Blanton I could hear life just bubbling up in him. Baseball can really make someone feel better, especially if you know your team is a winner.
Thank you to the Phillies. To the players, the owners, the front office, the people who work the games down to the people who have to clean the ballpark of snow in the winter. Thank you to the Flyers, for giving me something to love while baseball is hibernating. Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this ride something special. People with “names” like Matango, CrowSting, CgrGrl, Rah Rah, mtcal, Bandit, Tony, justin, DIM, Flip, MrV, JH316, Sharkman, Bollux, Jroll, Chief, ek, Bigel, melty, Sun Mo, pp999, E-five, Rowen, Doug, Buckshot, and the entire BP. Most of us may be in a new place, but this new place sure feels a lot like the old place did before irrevocable change came. Chase Utley would probably say “Ten years… Ten F’N YEARS!”
Thank you to my father and mother, my uncle Pat and my brother Brian (both of whom were gifted ballplayers who I know could have went pro if they wanted to and didn’t considering other parts of life more important), all helped me come to love baseball as something special. Thanks to my girlfriend Vicki, who puts up with my love for sports and me devoting time to both writing and posting news or just whispers from sources I’ve picked up over the years. Thank you to my Jamie for being my best friend and to Tammi, for being the closest thing to a sister I have, even if she does like A-Rod.
As I said this has been one hell of a time for the Phillies. I can only hope it gets better and come November we are all celebrating once more. Now I can only say one thing. Aces and catchers are reporting in 6 days!
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Barry Jeffrey Jr. writes “The Crow’s Nest” column for PSC.
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