Joy in Phillyville
September 30, 2007
There’s no joy in Mudville, a suburb of New York, but there’s plenty of exuberance in Phillyville.
The comeback kids didn’t need to travel that route today. They took the lead and added on and at 4:35 p.m., they were the National League East Champions! All that **** we’ve had to read all the time that we hadn’t had a postseason appearance since 1993 is deleted from the files forever.
We have now reached the postseason in four consecutive decades. I’ve been dying to write that.
There were so many heroes but Jimmy Rollins stepped up again. He’s certainly been a force and if he’s not the MVP, we will carry the protest to the Supreme Court.
After the game, the players celebrated on the field, did the usual champagne showers and then came back on the field to salute the fans again. They wouldn’t leave.
Tomorrow, the fans get to salute the Eastern Division Champions at City Hall at noon. Tuesday, they will work out at Citizens Bank Park and on Wednesday, the new five-game season begins.
The 1980 team had its own identity, a group that was formed in the 1970s and then climbed to the highest peak in team history. The 1983 NL champs had so many older players on the team and they didn’t really catch on fire until September. The 1993 team took over first place on April 19 and never looked back. They were a bunch of misfits, wild, crazy guys.
Charlie Manuel’s team had a slew of injuries but they never quit. Philadelphia is a blue collar town that loves people who bust their butt, don’t give up and keep working and working. This season seemed to be a constant roller coaster, pogo stick or yo-yo, whatever you want to call it. Up and down, peaks and valleys. Their resiliency was amazing.
The Ghost of 1964 is dead! In case you aren’t aware, the Phillies led by 6.5 games with 12 games to go. They went on a 10-game losing streak and before you knew it, the pennant was flying in St. Louis.
This year, the Mets led by seven on September 12. They hit the skids and now they have a ghost in their closet.
In 1950, the Phillies won on the last day of the season, 4-1, in 10 innings at Brooklyn. Robin Roberts pitched all 10 innings, his fourth start in the last eight games. Guess they didn’t worry about pitch counts back then. Fifty-seven years later, the Phillies clinched on the last day, a day on which Robbie celebrated his 81st birthday. Earlier in the day, Robbie sent a good luck e-mail to Charlie.
There’s one other factor to the success of the ’07 team. He’s in heaven and as Dallas Green said after the game, “He’s up there crying like a baby.” John Vukovich, we miss you, we love you and we’re crying too.