It’s November 4th, 2001. The nation is still reeling from unspeakable acts of terrorism performed by foreign men who wish to bring down the empire of the United States. Unbeknownst to most, there is another foreign man within the country who also has plans to bring down an empire. His name is Luis Gonzalez. He patrols the left field of Bank One Ballpark, and with one swift swing of a bat, he brings the faithful followers of the Arizona Diamondbacks to their feet, and the dynasty of the New York Yankees to its knees.
Flash forward now, exactly eight years later. The time is 11:51 p.m. The batter is Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino, the Flyin’ Hawaiian. The count is 3 balls and 2 strikes. The pitch is a fastball, low. The result? A ground ball to second base, and a pinstripe pileup that for seven days I could only sit and hope wouldn’t come at the expense of my beloved Fightin’ Phils. Unfortunately, it did. And the Yankees have once again returned to glory
I suppose congratulations are in order for New York. They performed better than Philadelphia when it counted, and therefore were crowned champions. After all the heated debates I engaged in, the trash talking and the purchasing of Phillies apparel for other people’s children, one might think I’d be angry at New York for winning. I hate them with such a passion for the way they conduct their business. Employing known steroid users with no repercussions. Purchasing all of the best available players just because they have the money. But in the end, when you look at it, even though they may buy a new team every three or four years, they still come together and succeed. Opinions aside, you have to respect that.
Don’t get me wrong, you won’t ever catch me wearing a NY cap, or even coming in contact with one with anything less than MOPP 4 gear on. I stand proud as a member of Phillies Nation, a collective group of men and women who support our organization through the high times and the lows, through National League titles and 10,000 losses, parades down Broad Street and battery-throwing incidents at Veterans Stadium. It’s not always easy. All-Stars have come and gone. Losing seasons have piled up. Voices have died. And yet, somehow, the team always finds a way to battle back. This loss isn’t as tough to swallow as the Series defeat in 1993, the Game 6 where infamous Joe Carter jumped for joy around the bases after winning it all for Toronto with a home run in the 9th inning, leaving my family and my city shocked and silenced. For fourteen years following that dreadful night, the Phillies were stooped in mediocrity, failing to make the playoffs until 2007, when they finally got to taste the sweetness of October baseball yet again. I can only hope that this team won’t know such misfortune. But, if they do…well, World Series, I’ll be seeing you in 2023.And so we are entering what, for a long while, I've viewed as the most depressing time of year. No, not winter, not the holidays, not even the NBA season. No, my dear readers, we are about to embark on a boring, lackluster four-month period known as the Major League Baseball offseason.