On Saturday, the Philadelphia Phillies clinched their second straight National League Eastern Division championship. Unlike last year, when the team historically made up 7 games with 17 to play and overcame the Mets, this year's team spent a majority of their season in first place. Despite economic hardships taking their hold across our great nation, thousands of Phillies fans (including yours truly) will flock to Citizens Bank Park this week to see the Phils take on the Milwaukee Brewers.
After Brad Lidge recorded the final out on Saturday and my celebration with Matt Pollack consisting of high fiving and Korbel champagne had ended, I thought back to 1993 when the Phillies last had a successful postseason and went to the World Series. That was my 7th grade year at Abington Junior High School and far and away the most social period of my life. Every weekend, my calendar was booked with 2-3 bar or bat mitzvahs to attend in the northeast Philadelphia and Main Line area. Away games that I couldn't attend would force me to bring a headset to the party to hear Harry Kalas calling the action and stressing the tense atmosphere that only comes with Mitch Williams trying to save a game on the road.
This year's Phillies squad is better than the '93 team. Even better than the '07 team. They actually have a bullpen this year. They actually believe that they're capable of winning and have the talent to do so. A shortened rotation in the playoffs only helps the Phillies as there is no need to send a Kyle Kendrick or an Adam Eaton to the mound. Bullpen is much deeper than last year and I see the team getting over last year's early round exit and having no problem dispatching of the Brewers in four games.
As I work to find ways to work from home this week to take part in Philadelphia Playoff Phever (which I can tell you is one of the most amazing things to be a part of), I'm looking forward to these games more than ever. I'll be moving to California in December, so this is likely the last time I'll see a Phillies home playoff game for quite some time. The celebration that will accompany a playoff game victory will bring back memories of '93's magical run to the World Series along with awkward 13 year Jewish kids dancing at Bar Mitzvahs. Oh it'll be a party...and I can't wait!