Gosh, it sure is exciting to have baseball back again, isn’t it? The World Champs start their…
Whoa, wait, what was that? 17 words into my sentimental piece about having the Phillies back for another year, and I already get booed? Sure, it wasn’t the greatest opening to an article, but damn, cut me a little slack – it’s the first post of the baseball season, for cripes sake.
Ah, who am I kidding – it’s a reflex, isn’t it? It’s what we do. Fact is, after Myers gave up the third home run, I was feeling the itch, watching at home, to let out a little boo. I didn’t, but I thought about it. And when I did hear the boos, I couldn’t help but laugh a little.
“Oh man, two innings in, and the booing starts again. Only in Philly.”
But here’s the thing – why should we change? Why should one championship change the way we watch the game? I mean, think about it – if we give the Phillies a total flyer for the season, if we facilitate a more laid-back, relaxed environment, isn’t it possible the Phillies would adapt a more lackadaisical style themselves?
I’m not willing to take that chance. I’m not a huge fan of booing my own team, but there are occasions for it. And I think the crackling intensity that the Philly fans bring to the park helps this Phillies team. Sure, when they play poorly, that intensity can turn on them, as boos rain down from the stands. But when they are going good, or find themselves in key moments, that intensity becomes a driving force. You could feel it in the ninth inning, as they attempted to stage a comeback – the electricity returned. I commented to friends I was watching the game with that I was getting that old feeling back again.
You know the one I’m talking about. The one the Phillies would give you late in games, down a few runs. The one that made you feel like, no matter what the situation, they could come back. The one you got sitting in the stands late in the season, as they were on their push to clinch the division, the air sizzling with verve before the game even began. The one you felt all over Philly as they made their playoff run. The feeling at the parade.
That, to me, was the real story of the game last night. It wasn’t a handful of fans that chose to boo, or that the Phillies lost the game, or that Myers plan of attack early was poorly constructed, or that all of these lefties in the middle of the line-up is going to be a conversation all season long.
Nope, that wasn’t the real story. The real story was that, down 4-0 in the ninth, the Phillies made a push, albeit one that did not pan out. But as they were making that push, you felt the energy again, the confidence that they could win the thing. Maybe people had already started to flee the park by that point, but the real fans still in attendance were pumped.
No matter what happens, there is something about this team, something about this collection of players, that keeps any deficit from being insurmountable, any game from becoming beyond resurrection. Getting that feeling back, despite the loss, felt pretty damn good.
I’m excited for some Phillies baseball this summer. One game isn’t going to change that.