Not long ago, the Phillies became the first team in the history of North American sports to be on the wrong end of game 10,000 times. Sure seems like distant history now.
On the heels of a Jayson Werth walk-off home run, the Phils extended their win streak to 10 straight games. They sit a lofty 6.5 games up on their nearest competition, the Atlanta Braves, and their lead over their supposed foremost competition coming into the season, the Mets, is as long as their win streak.
While the calendar has yet to turn to August, the Phillies are certainly in a prime position to capture their third straight NL East title.
Management is aware of the position they find themselves in. Roy Halladay has been dancing inside the minds of Phillies fans for the past several weeks. Visions of trotting out Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay in a playoff series has much of the Philadelphia area thinking repeat.
Even better, the Phils are in a unique position to both have the minor league arsenal to meet the demands of the Blue Jays, and take on the ace's salary for the next year and a half.
The Phils are in a position to take on additional salary to an already franchise high payroll because those turnstiles at Citizens Bank Park won't stop turning. Nobody in baseball has bought more fans to the ballpark then the Fightins.
In what seems like a blink of an eye, the Phils transformed from eternal laughingstock, to major league powerhouse. This Philadelphia franchise is now firmly entrenched in the upper echelon of major league teams. They have joined the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, and Dodgers as the pillars of this suddenly surging league.
Upper management has much to do with the brand revival. From the job of the GM, the scout team, the marketing department, and the sales and promotional managers, the Phillies are elite. Away games are now littered with red pinstripes.
Home games are now no longer occupied by Eagles fans watching Phillies games. The town has been painted red.
Simply put, there may be no better time than right now to be a Phillies fan.
From top to bottom, a franchise notorious for their frugality and scrupulous approach, has become a beacon of light from which other bottom-dweller franchises can take their cue.
Yes, the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, and Charlie Manuel certainly make it easy to see why they are in such a fortuitous position. But after their miraculous division comeback in 2007, this team seemed poised to make their mark in the playoffs.
However, like many a team past, they faltered, losing three consecutive games at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.
Since that NLDS ousting, the franchise has grown in leaps and bounds and now sit in a perfect position to contend for a third World Series ring.
To be a Phillies fan over the past quarter century has certainly taken some years off of many peoples' lives. But their is no more Wild Thing, no more Scott Rolen, and no more Larry Bowa.
Gone are the days of that constant hollow feeling. The feeling that pierced the heart, that awakened you at night—that constant reminder that ultimately, the Phils will fail.
Right now there is hope. Right now there is opportunity.
Right now there is optimism, talent, and a chance to be unforgettable.