Ever hear the joke, “What’s the Webster’s definition of mixed emotions? Watching your mother-in-law go over a cliff in your new Mercedes.”
That’s how I feel this morning after watching the World Series last night. I grew up a Yankee fan but I couldn’t root for them in the Series this year because they played against the team from my adopted home town, the Phillies. Call ’em what you will: the Frillies, the Sillies, the Fillies. I don’t care. They were the only game in town and I came to know and love these guys. I still carried around my Yankee heritage like my maiden name, but when I came to Philly, I got to know the home team and I adopted them much the way they adopted me.
I’ve seen the Yankees play the Phillies before. They had a 3-game series in Philly in 2007, so I wore a Yankee cap and a Phillies t-shirt. Someone in the parking lot yelled at me to “Make up your mind!” but at the time, there was just no way for me to divide my loyalties. As I told someone else, I can’t lose, but I can’t win; either way, one of my teams is going to lose this game. (The Phillies lost that series, 2 games to 1.)
As the last few years have gone on, I cheered my heart out for the Phillies and got to know more about the players as individuals. I don’t know them personally but I feel like I know who they are as people. They’re just like us: guys with jobs. Granted, no one will ever buy a ticket to watch me reconcile invoices or even write stories, and I sure don’t get paid what ballplayers do, but in the grand scheme of things, we’re not that far removed from each other. We’re all just people, doing the best we can with the skills and talents God gave each of us.
I had a bad feeling, when the ’09 Series began, that the Phillies were going to get outplayed. The Yankees are a tough team, even if it looked like they phoned in their appearance in game 1. (I think they seriously underestimated Phillies talent, but they corrected that in game 2.) As the game 5 sign read, “The Yankees have $ but the Phillies have <heart>.” The guy holding it was standing in front of us, section 210, row 9. And they still have heart.
So this morning I’m kinda happy for the Yankees—even if the rest of the world may hate them even more—but more than anything else, I’m proud of my Phillies for giving it everything they had. They’re still World Champions in my book, and they’re officially the 2009 National League champions. In baseball, just like in life, there’s always next time. Go get ’em, Fightins!!
Just to be a good sport about the whole thing: my congrats to the Yankees. They played a good game, but they better be prepared to defend that title in 2010.
For those conspiracy theorists out there: Did anyone else notice that all week long, Fox aired commercials saying “All new ‘Bones’ and ‘Fringe’ on Thursday night!” If you do the math, had the series gone to 7 games, game 7 would’ve been played on Thursday night. It’s as if Fox knew well in advance that there would only be 6 games played in this series. Methinks something smells fishy… (After last year’s World Series, I still don’t trust or have any love or respect for Bud Selig, so if this was all pre-planned, I’m not the slightest bit surprised.)