“The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again.” – James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams
By this time tomorrow, pitchers and catchers will have reported to Clearwater, FL and another season of Phillies baseball will be underway. Over the last week, we’ve highlighted reasons for fans to get excited about the upcoming year, a year where many “experts” are already calling it a lost season before the first pitch even takes place. At the end of the day, it’s the start of baseball season and that is the #1 reason to watch this season.
The history of baseball can be traced to the 18th century in the United States. Since its origination, baseball has been special in this country. It’s a tradition that gets passed on from generation to generation. Fathers playing catch with their sons in the backyard and taking their families to the ballpark to enjoy afternoons of life, laughter and memories.
Phillies baseball is a game of numbers. It’s 1, 14, 20, 32 and 36. It’s Bunning’s and Halladay’s 27 up and 27 down. It’s Lidge’s 48 saves; the perfect season. It’s records that were made to be broken. It’s number 11 and his 2,306 career hits. It’s number 6 and his 58 long drives in the summer of 2006. It’s 127 seasons, 9,035 wins and yes even 10,162 losses. But it’s the championships of 1980 and 2008 that made this city feel alive again.
Phillies baseball are the nicknames that every fan knows. They are “Flash” Gordon, “Light’s Out” Lidge and “Tugger” closing out games. They are the “Secretary of Defense” patrolling centerfield. They are the “Bull”, “Sarge” and “Lefty”. They are “Dude”, “Dutch”, “Inky”, the “Wild Thing” and the rest of the band of misfits on the ’93 team. They are even old “Puddin’ Head” Jones, “Whitey” Ashburn and the Whiz Kids of the 50’s. The list could go on and on.
Phillies baseball is 162 games where in 2007 it took all of them for Brett Myers to strike out Nationals outfielder Wily Mo Pena, leading the team to their first playoff appearance in 14 years.
Phillies baseball is Harry Kalas, the sound summer on Philadelphia radio air waves. It’s “the 0-2 pitch, swing and a miss, struck him out. The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 world champions of baseball.”
Baseball is our National Pastime and this week it’s back for another season. Get ready Philadelphia.