The joy of the Phillies’ World Championship still hung in my house like the “#1 Fan” finger poised above the living room TV.
By Sunday night I was finally, genuinely believing both that the Phillies had won the title and that no one would take it away. They couldn’t, right? Hey, I’m a Philly fan so someone—the umps, Joe Carter, Bud Selig—is looking to get us. (By the way, could Miller Lite’s Commissioner of the No-Taste League do any worse than Bud?)
I even once believed my brother had the power to conspire against the Phillies. One night, my dad took my brother and me to a regular-season, non-descript game against the Montreal Expos, one the no-luck early-70s Phillies for once had in the bag.
But my 10-year-old brother Paul thought it’d be a good idea to cheer for the Expos to make things interesting, and to prolong our day at the Vet. So he cheered every Montreal hit, cheered every Phillies out, and didn’t stop cheering until the Phillies lost.
I had malice in my heart—even if I was too young at 7 to spell malice. How could he have done this? He helped the Expos beat the Phillies! Only logic, my dad, my age difference, and my size (4 inches shorter) kept me from pummeling my brother.
Anyway, today, comforted by the exorcism of 25 years of championship-less ghosts and a magical nay-saying brother, I relaxed and watched the Eagles’ 26-7 win over the Seahawks, then settled in to watch Comcast for Ray Didinger’s expert post-game analysis.
During a commercial, I ended up talking to my wife. No worries, I thought, knowing my regular-guy two-minute-warning clock would get me back on the couch before the show resumed. Every guy knows the drill when you’re battling commercials and a conversation with the wife.
Like a quarterback, you should throw your comments to the sidelines to kill time. “Yes, you’re right there.” “No, I couldn’t argue about that.” “Let me think about that one—but again, I think you’re right.”
But something happened as I ran through my progressions. I stopped caring about getting back to the TV.
I certainly wanted to watch Didinger, who never fails to comment on the game like no one else on TV on any network. But as I sat listening to my wife, I realized something drastic had changed.
I didn’t need to watch. For years, I did. Because if I watched, the answer would come. The one thing keeping Philly teams from a title would reveal itself, either in commentary, or in a highlight, or in a post-game interview, or most certainly in the game itself.
One thing or another, the games or the commentary, would take us home, to the land of milk and honey and championship rings. Guide us, Ray-Diddy, V-Heb, the Gov, Barkann, Mitchy-Poo, Ricky-Bo. (By the way, please cease with the nicknames!).
All of these thoughts went through my head as I stood there listening to my wife.
I actually don’t know what she said while I considered this. Or what thoughts must have raced through her head as I stood there so long: “Geez, he’s actually still listening—I must be saying something smart.”
All I know is that it dawned on me: I’ve seen a Philadelphia World Champion for the first time since I was 13. There’s nothing on TV right now that can top what I’ve just seen for the last week. There are no answers to the mystery, no magical formula to be revealed.
There’s nothing more to be done or said. Philly has a World Champion; the Phillies won the World Series. It’s time to relax and enjoy.