Last year, I wrote on my blog what it meant to a city to have a championship. It was a generality for all cities, all sports fans. This year, not the case. This one is for Philadelphia.
A repeat championship. Winning a single championship is a difficult feat. Repeating though, is almost impossible. Your team has to carry their formula of success from one season to the next, without letting the glimmer and distraction from the celebration of one get in the way. For the team, it's a chance to prove that they weren't a fluke. That last year wasn't a miracle. They want to cement their legacy in the annals of baseball history as a GREAT team, and not just one that won a single championship. What would it mean to that particular city? All the things that last year brought, the unity and presence that the fellow fans bring to each other is enormous. Let me give some insight and examples to show this, to those whom haven't experienced what this city has in the past year.
Last year, over 2 million people showed up for the championship parade, and thousands more didn't make it because the public transportion into the city was used to literally, it's maximum capacity. I was there at it. It was incredible. Cheering with strangers I've never met, having in depth conversations. What brought us there? The championship. What did we talk about? Everything, including the championship. I hugged people I've never met, and have never seen again. I high-fived all people I could see in Red and White. The championship didn't really improve anything that day. Our economy is still in recession. There is still crime (here and around the world). The war didn't end. What it did though, for that one day, was bring EVERYONE together in one joyous moment that we could all share. What I didn't expect, what happened afterwards. The feeling of togetherness and unity did not end when that parade ended. It continued. It continued into the next season, and still continues to this day.
For Philadelphia, the Phillies have all brought us together. They are truely something special, and they deserve to show the history books that they were special in these years. We want them soooo badly to repeat. It's not being greedy, it's just we after so many years of championship drought, finally got to enjoy it. Now, we're out to show, with the team, to the rest of the world, that this team truely was special. And they are headed straight towards it again. After the season begun, after the Phillies weren't even given consideration to win the NL East, the Phillies Phaithful defended them tooth and nail while haters bashed them. Called them flukes. Criticized their homerun hitting style and their "lack of pitching". Well, the Phillies made moves to continue their success. Raul Ibanez in the offseason, Cliff Lee before the trade deadline. They have their sights set upon repeating. They have the pieces to become a dynasty. The Phillies franchise aren't concerned about the future, they are focused on NOW. For once, it seems, the franchise listened to their fanbase. Now it's time for the rest of the baseball world to listen too. The Phillies right now, are a great team. And we hope that they show it again.
This season, we lost one of our greatest fans. Harry Kalas. A friend to all, and a true fan of baseball. So many great memories from those who knew him, whom met him, and have listened to him. Personally, he was the second man I learned baseball from. The first was my father. The second was Harry Kalas. And it's actually something we share. My father was in his teens when Harry came to town, and he followed the Phillies with him. It was a true bonding experience between my father and me, to be such a fan of Harry Kalas. it literally brings tears to my eyes just thinking of how much I enjoyed listening to the Phillies with his voice, and everything he could say and make me feel like he was right there in the room with me. He was like that uncle that knows everything about baseball and teaches it to their nephews. For the fanbase, we all lost a great friend. To the team, just the same. At the end of every victory, at the stadium, we all sing "High Hopes." It's a great feeling. Harry never left us, he's just sitting in another booth that has a much better view of the stadium now when the game is on. The Phillies put the HK patch on their uniforms, just above their hearts. Because that's where Harry is. He's right there, in all of our hearts.
So in short, Phillies, do it for you. Last year was for Philadelphia and the fans. This year, it is about you. We'll take what we get from it usually, but we want it for you more then anything else. It's your chance in history to show how great you are. Just prove it. You already proved it to us. You already proved it to Harry. You already proved it to yourselves. Prove it to the rest of the world, they're the only pins left to knock down. We'll be with you every step of the way, every stumble, every victory, and every defeat. if you don't (knock on wood), you don't. You're still great. We know that. You already convinced us. Do it for yourselves and show everyone else. And if you could, maybe...do it for Harry.
We have, High Hopes.
Lets Go Phillies!