Just in case you haven't heard - The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series last night - bettering the Tampa Bay Rays in the "resumed" game 5.
I live in Philadelphia - I have for most of my adult life. I love this city and I have come to love its teams.
Growing up in central PA in the home of a still moderately bitter Brooklyn Dodgers fan, I watched a lot of Pirates and Mets (channel 11 - WPIX) baseball - we didn't get a local Philadelphia station - so we never saw the Phillies, unless they were playing one of the aforementioned teams or were, basically, in the world series. So, naturally, I became a St. Louis Cardinals fan. The Cards were pretty successful in the 1980s (3 World Series appearances, 1 win) - and they kept a lot of their line-up intact - so it was easy to remember the players' names, etc (okay, I kept an index card on each player with their stats, organized in one of those metal - well, index card boxes). Pittsburgh was definitely the "local" team of choice - I went to quite a few Pirates games at the old 3 Rivers Stadium - with an Aunt who liked to sit in the box seats and to arrive early/depart late to avoid the "city" traffic - as a result we got to see a lot of the players up close - and their cars. Many porsches in those days.
When I first moved to Philadelphia, I was thrilled to live in a city with so many sports teams - I went to see the Eagles, 76ers, Flyers, and of course, the Phillies. One school friend and I found our way(s) to many a game - comp tickets from a boss - 1/2 price ticket days/promotion. One week, we went to 3 games - they kept having the "if the Phillies steal a base - 1/2 price tickets for tomorrow" - and you know what? Those darn Phillies kept stealing bases!
But as the years wore on, and as I became more and more familiar with the Philadelphia heartache - I pared it down to one or two games a season. We'd go over the bridge to see the River Sharks - and just follow up with the Phillies in the paper, or the internet.
Last season was wonderful - we reveled in the Mets' debacle as the Phils stood strong and won the NL East - that joy was, of course short-lived - but there had been such a post-season drought that it was still very special.
So this year there was a cautious optimism when the Phils began the season - and there was a different feel to it - they had winning streaks - but no long losing streaks - they were at or near the top nearly the entire season - and then, near the end - when it looked like the might fall short - the Mets stepped in again and crumpled nicely.
The Phils looked so strong in the post season - the Brewers were on a winning streak - that promptly halted at Lincoln Financial Field - and the Dodgers' bats were silenced in the NLCS - as the Phillies won in 5.
And we waited - who would the Phillies play in the World Series? THE PHILLIES ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES! Oh no, the Rays. It's kinda difficult to "hate" the Rays - but we were able to muster the energy to do so for a few days. Actually, the dislike vested more with the announcers and "officials" - as they were (seemingly) overtly rooting for Tampa.
But that's okay - the Phils did it - they won! Philadelphia is once again a city of champions.