Let’s continue our search for a team for Twins fans to root for. Previously, we’ve investigated Arizona, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee, and New York. Now it’s the Philadelphia Phillies’ turn. For some insight into the heart and soul of a Phillies fan, we turn to Justin Klugh, Senior Editor for That Ball’s Outta Here, Fansided’s own Phillies blog:
If you waited outside a Turkey Hill in the Delaware Valley and asked people why they should root for the Phillies in the post season, they would probably elbow you in the stomach while muttering, “What do you mean why? Because they’re spectacular. Just… do it. Why were you not doing it before?”
Then I remember the appearance we have through the national media; how most see us as rabid carnivores who wake up in the morning, snickering at the thought of the next child we’ll inevitably puke on. How, in turn, we’ve poisoned the image of the Phillies themselves by being serial killers in faded red jerseys. How that’s kind of unfair, considering bad things happen everywhere and Philadelphia isn’t the epicenter of mankind’s suffering that it is sometimes portrayed as; I mean, how could it be. Have you heard about our baseball team?
I get it, though. As a fan, it is tough to swallow the indifference the remainder of the post season brings when your team is knocked out, let alone begin cheering for a roster full of strangers. And the Phillies aren’t the trendy pick anymore, having kicked the NL East’s door in a few years and barred it with a chair. This year has been even less interesting than the last few, as we’ve all but cruised from epic win to comeback win to blowout win since early April.
But you don’t need a history degree to know the images that flicker through our heads in contrast to these moments. Each time you head for the parking lot after a Cliff Lee CGSO while Harry the K croons “High Hopes” throughout The Bank, there’s a flash of your grandfather’s face the first time he told you about Black Friday. The way your chest felt the night your parents let you stay up late to watch Game 6 of the ’93 World Series and you knew you’d still have to go to school the next day. The binders full of baseball cards of Phillies no one asked for, noticed, or remembers; that were only here because it was where their agent told them the plane was going.
You realize, over and over again, that this is not a common thing, as those running alongside the bandwagon fail to grasp. This is special baseball we’re playing in Philly, and not just in the context of Philadelphia–in the context of time and space. The team is slick, fun, and productive. They do their job and make sure their caliber of baseball is the kind you can’t take your eyes off of. But what makes us even more entertaining, and where someone just looking for a playoff fling could get interested, is the dynamic between us and the team.
I’m not sure a relationship’s ever existed that is comparable to what Cliff Lee has with Philadelphia (and vice versa). It transcends… well it transcends normalcy, I can guarantee that. Doc, Lil Roy, Cole, Vance, Kendrick–when they haven’t been open about their personalities, we’ve created one for them. Jimmy scoops the beat writers and gives us injury updates via Twitter. Hunter had a catch phrase within 20 minutes of his arrival. I instinctively refer to each of the players solely by their first name without realizing it, as if they’re a crew of friends I hang out with after work. Fan fiction flows freely from the internet about a baseball team. You can say they don’t know we exist, but they do, even if we’re just an amorphous collective to them.
It borders on madness, which is a nice way of saying “It’s madness.” But its fun as all hell, and while as an outsider you may have a tough time becoming as emotionally invested as we are, try this: Pick out (or just email me and ask for) a list of Phillies bloggers and writers and start following them on Twitter. When something cataclysmic happens to the Phils, check the timeline, and you’ll what I mean. It can be like a different language, and sometimes, it is–one of our more prominent blogs demands it is a “bolg” not a “blog.”
So please, get on the Phillies bus with us. Or we’ll find you and run you over with it. Because don’t forget, we’re terrible.
Puckett’s Pond’s Notes:
Wow, that was impressive – a very impassioned and heartfelt appeal by a very committed Phillies fan. Can’t really add much to that! Except I will point out (because I had to look this up myself) that Mr. Klugh does not want us to stand on an actual hill full of turkeys. Turkey Hill is a convenience store with many Philadelphia locations. Also, I’ll say that as successful as this team has been lately, it hasn’t always been sunny for the Philadelphia Phillies. Generations of great players like Richie Ashburn, Jim Bunning, and Robin Roberts toiled in vain for the Phils. The club was founded in 1883, but didn’t win its first championship until 1980. The second one came 28 years later. Of course, ever since that second championship, the Phillies have been one of the titans of the game, with a payroll that rivals Boston (if not New York) and the media attention to match. Some fans may already be suffering from Phillie burnout as a result. Other than that, the only reason I can come up with for someone to root against the Phillies is that weird mascot thing they have. Say what you will about TC Bear, but at least a bear is a real thing. I hope that was a balanced argument… in case you’re still not persuaded either way, stay tuned next time as we investigate the Texas Rangers.