A game, a sport, a way of life. The history, the passion, the game itself.
Anybody can throw on jerseys, stack up on gear, memorabilia and other merchandise calling themselves a fan. Yes, I own plenty of memorabilia, write about the Phillies any chance given, but I'm a true Philadelphia Phillies fan and proud. I get congratulations and condolences on the Phillies wins and losses.
It's safe to say I have a healthy obsession with the Philadelphia Phillies. After all, how many 17 year old girls like baseball? It isn't a coincidence I bleed red.
I was born with a Phillies cap on. I've loved baseball for as long as I can remember. When my mom didn't dress me in funny looking dresses, I wore Phillies outfits. My favorite movie as a toddler was The Sandlot, which remains a favorite. I'd always have a whiffle ball and bat in my hand. Baseball is a way of expressing yourself.
Behind my old house there was a little baseball field. Not much of a field, just a fence for a backstop, a few dirt spots for the base paths and a spot for pitchers mound. The intent of the lot may not of been for a baseball field, but it was used for one. I continue to play softball today as every little kid plays Little League at some point. Baseball has roots.
My dad played slow pitch softball, so I would always go to his games. My grandparents and parents told me Phillies stories at a young age. I was born a couple years before the 1993 World Series, so I imagine that the game was on TV more than usual. That is probably how I first started to watch the Phillies, although I may not remember very well. The Phillies and I connected, and I fell in love with them. Baseball is a family tradition.
The older I got, the more I liked the Phillies. The time I was a little kid was a very difficult time to love the Phillies. They were awful, but I still stuck with them and rooted them on. I lived through the wonderful Terry Adams, Turk Wendell and Joe Roa days, but I still remained a fan. After Scott Rolen left, Brandon Duckworth was my favorite player.. there was really nobody better on the team to like! I was accustomed to losing. 10,000 losses and proud.
I learned so much about baseball from books, the Internet, watching games, playing, observing or listening to the great broadcaster, Harry Kalas. The game has so much history. It is America's pastime. I can name famous calls off the top of my head replaying the scene in my head. I might not know all the history, all the players, all the milestones, but I am willing to learn about it. Every time I hear something about baseball, I stop what I'm doing and listen. New records are made, records are broken. Stats tell stories. Baseball is a history class.
Whether it is sitting in the stands, or in front of the TV, I love watching baseball, no matter the team. The passion for the game across the country is unbelievable. Many families make it their priority to take at least one trip each year to the ballpark to root on their favorite team or player. Whether its cheering, booing, clapping, or starting the wave, fans show their support or hatred toward their team, or the opposition. Even if you don't know a thing about baseball, or don't even like it, it is impossible to say you had a bad time at the ballpark. Nothing is like being in Citizens Bank Park with other fans. Philly fans have a natural bond. I may not know who I'm sitting next to, but I am still high fiving that guy anyway. Baseball is fan interaction, the trash talk, arguments, and agreements.
My passion for the game is indescribable. The excitement comes with the pain. The nerves. The relief. Words can't put it. Every time I turn on the game it just gives me this special feeling. My head will clear of the all the bad things, and put a big smile on my face. Baseball is happiness, and sadness.
The passion leads to the game. Have a bad game? There's always tomorrow. Even if the Phillies are losing 25-0, I'm still watching the game. I don't give up on them. Like Tug McGraw said “Ya Gotta Believe!” I always have faith in the Phillies. Anything can happen in baseball. The passion allows you not to give up on your favorite team. I don't miss a game, I watch all 162. If I miss a game for whatever reason, I will find away to get scores. It's a daily routine to turn on Comcast Sportsnet for baseball coverage.
The game of baseball itself it amazing. There is no time limit. There is no clock, but 9 innings that can last a lifetime. Human nature makes the game unpredictable. An umpire may miss a call changing the outcome of a game. You never know what to expect. Anything can happen. Hitting a 95 mph faster is harder than it looks. Failure makes the game so great. The best players fail 70% of the time. There is so much strategy that goes into the game. Baseball is just as mental as it is physical. Baseball's winner is up for grabs.
When the Phillies clinched the division in 2007, it was awesome. I thought it was the best thing ever. Little did I know what a World Series Championship felt like. I always thought about how I'd react if the Phillies won the World Series. Even though Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske, to this day I don't know how I reacted. I couldn't think straight. Words can't describe it. Euphoria. Either way, being accustomed to losing was temporarily flushed down the toilet.
Baseball is... the greatest sport ever created. I live for this.