How about those Phightins? After 11 years of pain and losing, the Philadelphia Phillies made the postseason as the last Wild Card team. At first, fans were just happy to be in the playoffs, but after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and the San Diego Padres, the Phillies found themselves in the World Series for the first time since 2009.
2009! Most of you were in elementary school the last time the Phillies were playing baseball in October. I was in first grade back in 2008–the last time the Phillies won the World Series. For the Philly fans that are Drexel students, you have been waiting your entire childhood for this very moment.
Philly celebrated their beloved heroes of the good ol’ days from 2008-2011, where the Phillies made the postseason every year as one of baseball’s best teams. Jimmy Rollins lived up to his nickname, “J-Roll”, because when he was rolling, the team was rolling. How about the grit and grind of his middle infield partner, Chase Utley, the best second baseman of his time. Right behind him in the lineup, the power threat and 2006 MVP, “The Big Piece” Ryan Howard. Of course, you can’t forget those four aces, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, not to mention World Series hero, Joe Blanton, who defines the term, “pitchers who rake.”
Like I said, the good ol’ days. Fast forward to now, and the heroes of today have emerged in this 2022 postseason.
Coming into the season, analysts and baseball fans were saying Alec Bohm could not be the Phillies third baseman of the future and that the Phillies should even consider moving him. Well, Bohm has shown that he is the future at the hot corner with a homer in game three and key defensive plays throughout the playoffs. Also, he loves this place.
Bryson Stott struggled out of the gate this season and the rookie’s future was questionable. Midway through the season, Stott took over the starting shortstop job and ran with it, shoring up the defense and having some big hits along the way.
Another young guy in the making, Brandon Marsh, the midseason acquisition from the Angels. Acquired strictly for defensive purposes, Marsh has made noise at the plate, none louder than his homer in game three to keep the Phillies rolling to a 7-0 win over the Houston Astros. It reminds you of another young, long-haired, bearded outfielder getting another chance to kick start his career in a new place, (aka Jayson Werth, the 2008 starting right fielder).
The offseason acquisitions have paid off from Dave Dombrowski (who by the way is making a case to be beside Pat Gillick in the Hall of Fame one day) as Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos have done their parts. It may have taken some help from Wawa to get the National League Home Run champion to get going, but he is sending balls into the autumn night skies that make you want to get up and say, “IT IS OUTTA HERE!” Castellanos has struggled at the plate, but has come up clutch on defense, even though he was metrically one of the worst defensive outfielders this year. Sliding and diving catches that have by no overreaction, saved ball games for the Phillies this postseason.
Need pitching? The Phillies got that too. Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola have anchored this staff with dominating performances not to mention the coolest and calmest there is, Ranger Suarez, who’s game three performance will live on forever in Phillies history. That horrific Phillies bullpen of the last few years has turned into a beautiful monster, as through game three, they had not allowed a run in the World Series. Their battery partner, J.T. Realmuto, has put any doubt that he isn’t the best catcher in baseball to rest, doing it all, including the game-winning home run in extra innings to allow the Phillies to take a crucial game one in Houston.
It was Chuck leading the way in 2008 and fast forward to 2022, it is Philly Rob. Philly has rallied by Rob Thompson, the manager, who lit a jolt on a struggling team with Joe Girardi. No one saw Thompson taking over as interim manager and leading this team to the playoffs, but Topper has pushed all the right buttons so far, including letting Suarez close out the Padres in the National League Championship Series.
Then, there’s that guy. You know exactly who I’m talking about already–MV3, Bryce Harper. When he signed his 13-year contract in the offseason before 2019, his one goal was simple. He would lead the Phillies back not only back to the postseason, but bring a trophy back to the City of Brotherly Love. He is delivering on that promise delivering in those moments where you are counting on your best player to be your best player. With a home run filled postseason, he delivered one of the greatest moments in Philadelphia sports history with the “swing of his life”, a go-ahead home run to send the Phillies to the World Series. And if that wasn’t enough, in the first World Series game back at Citizens Bank Park since 2009, he delivered a home run in the first inning to get the bank rocking and shaking.
Lastly, how about all of you, the dedicated Philadelphia fans who make the Bank the toughest place to play as an opposing player. The energy from the fans is one of the biggest reasons the Phillies got this far, so keep being the rowdiest, toughest and loudest fans in baseball so that Red October can finish with a glorious sparkling trophy. You went through middle school and high school, waiting for this moment. Now in your college years, it is time to reminisce on the past and celebrate the present. Philadelphia, it is not over yet. Keep bringing the energy to propel this Phillies team and hopefully, bring the best block party since the Eagles Super Bowl to Broad Street. Said? Said.