Welcome back, Philly- you miserable old-timer! It’s been way too long. What? Three years? We can finally stop this charade. No more distractions. No more parades. Just the longing and heartbreak we’ve missed so much.
It was only in 2008, when the Phillies ascended into baseball heaven with their second ever World Series win. I’ll never forget how Brad Lidge’s perfect arm struck out the final batter, and threw me out my door into the celebrating crowds. Everyone was so happy. Strangers hugged without groping (somewhat). Everyone’s voices became martyrs, as they willingly gave their lives for the life of the only two words that mattered: “We win! We win!” And, sure, some people turned over trashcans and committed plant murder, but they were happy.
It was weird.
This was not the Philadelphia I knew. I strolled through the heart of my city and was lost. Where was I?
Well, okay, I passed by an overturned car on Broad street, and warmed my chilled hands over a newspaper bin someone set on fire. So, it was still Philly in some way.
I don’t remember much about the 80s. I was only five when I escaped them. But, man. The 90s. The closest our sports teams ever got to a championship depended on how straight a pitcher nicknamed “Wild Thing” could throw a ball.
In our sports history, before 2008, we had won one World Series, zero Superbowls, two Stanley Cups (and, in Philly fashion, the team was nicknamed the Broad Street Bullies), and three NBA championships. None of which took place in the last 28 years.
So, please, forgive our frustrations, or don’t. We don’t really care, because we get grumpy. We threw snowballs at Santa and batteries at outfielder JD Drew. To be fair, though, the Eagles were losing big time that day, and everyone assumed that Santa wore red as a target. And the fan, who threw the battery at the Cardinal’s outfielder? Well, he was just a moron, who’ll never see another Phillies game in this city in person, again.
I’ve witnessed fights break out in the stands around me during baseball games. When we were in the midst of yet another losing game, the majority of fans didn’t simply go home. We booed, spat, cussed, punched and kicked through our frustrations.
After 2008, we were still as passionate as ever. Our fans have been known to shut down all-star pitchers just by the sheer volume of our voices. But there’s been an almost scent of pretentiousness in the air.
We now expect to win. Kids these days (says the 26-year-old). This new generation of Philly sports fans doesn’t start every season with that deep seeded feeling that everything that can go wrong for our teams will. They’ve known what it feels like to start a season and know we’re going to win. That’s not a concept one lives if he or she has never known heartbreak.
Well, after the Philles, the favorite to advance into the 2011 World Series, couldn’t even make it out of the first round…after the Eagles have lost the majority of their games this year in ugly fashion, after spending top dollar for key talent, I can already hear the crunch of snow inside hands who prepare snowballs. I can hear the boos, and the sad sighs that follow the even sadder words: “Maybe next year.”
So, welcome back Philadelphia- you’re a grumpy, old bastard. And you’re not dying any time soon.