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Domonic Brown Arrives: The Rules for Phillies Fans

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Domonic Brown Arrives: The Rules for Phillies Fans
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The announced attendance for Wednesday night’s 7-1 Philly flogging of the last place Diamondbacks was 45,048 paid customers. For fans accustomed to hearing sellout numbers in the forty-four thousand range at Citizen’s Bank Park, it is worth noting that the stadium was actually 103.2 percent full.

Let’s be honest, none of us are surprised by another full house at One Citizen’s Bank Way. There have been 90 consecutive, including all 51 home games this season.

But there are games that feel different. Different than the usual, “Wow, this place is beautiful,” or “Wow, I can actually eat crab fries with a Tony Luke’s cheesesteak while I watch the game”.

The arrival of Domonic Brown in Philadelphia was one of those nights.

His evening began with two standing ovations. One for taking the field, and the other for stepping to the plate. The others were reserved for actual achievements.

Like the tracer he fired off the right center field wall for an RBI double in his much-anticipated first MLB at-bat. Or the letters-high fastball that was promptly returned as a frozen rope single. Or the vapor trail sprint from first to home on a double to left field. The Comcast SportsNet producers were editing mid-game musical montages for between innings just to show the five tools from as many HD angles as possible. It is clear that Summer of Love 2010 began on July 28th .

With the Phils on a roll, the fever of the fan base, and the scintillating debut of the youngster, it will be easy to get carried away with expectations for the next 20 years of Domonic Brown’s career. After all, who wouldn’t be swept up by the excitement that accompanies the arrival of the number one prospect in minor league baseball? Heck, even Charlie Manuel quipped, “I think he got a bobblehead coming out tomorrow”.

But before Phillies fans begin carving out their body paint templates in the shape of the number nine, here is a simple set of rules that must be observed during Domonic Brown’s rookie season.

1. Any references to Domonic Brown must be preceded or immediately followed by the descriptor “22-year old”.

Why? Only six out of the 750 players on MLB rosters are younger than the Phillies much anticipated call-up.

He is in very rare territory, not only as a player who can just barely celebrate his first big hit with a cold beer, but as a young man who is being asked to get big hits in the midst of a pennant race with a team that has been to back-to-back World Series.

2. Phillies fans may not proclaim the beginning of “The Domonic Brown era”.

I kid you not when I say that in the five hours between the Shane Victorino disabled list announcement and last night’s first pitch, I read three separate articles that made reference to the beginning of the Domonic Brown era.

Take a minute to consider how many players you can think of whose names are used to designate eras. Seriously, have you ever heard of the “Willie Mays era”? Do you think the current time period will ever be known as the “Albert Pujols era”? To further drive home this point, think of how many eras in Phillies history you commonly describe by using the name of a single player. For instance, do we refer to the “Mike Schmidt era” or the "Jim Bunning era?"

The point here is that even the franchise’s all-time greats and Hall-of-Famers do not have their names in front of the word “era”. If a Phillie with 548 home runs does not have an era named for him, perhaps it is premature to assign this tag (and the expectations that it carries) to a player with one career extra-base hit.

And by the way, included in the rule against “era” references is an edict prohibiting anyone from designating Dom Brown as a savior. In addition to the numerous baseball reasons for this ban is the logic that referring to any baseball player as a savior shows a complete lack of perspective.

3. Fans absolutely may not boo, grumble, or otherwise voice displeasure toward Domonic Brown at any time this season.

Brown is the first to admit that his base running is a work in progress and there are sure to be some neck-high fastballs that make the youngster look foolish. However, when these inevitabilities occur, Phillies fans should first refer to rule number one from this list. They should then use whatever accumulated energy they have to cheer for the next Phillie batter introduced by public address announcer Dan Baker. Whether this is a two-week stay or a potential post-season call-up, the absolute longest that you would have to exercise restraint will be approximately three months. You can do it, Philly fans!

4.  Do not create, or even consider any Domonic Brown Fan Groups.

Fan groups have become a bit passe lately (I’m pretty sure Gload’s Toads was the only option left for current members of this roster) and that is definitely a positive trend at Citizens Bank Park. With that being said, there are to be no Dom’s Bombs, Brown’s Clowns, or any other groups based on first grade rhyming patterns.

This will serve two purposes. One, it will save much needed Wal-Mart white bed sheets for those who truly need them. And two, it will help to keep the hysteria and pressure surrounding our athletic young right fielder to a minimum.

There you have it. As the next two months progress, there are sure to be moments where we see things from Domonic Brown that simply could not be possible from the Ben Francisco's of the Phillies world.

But remember that the speed and power that creates those moments can amplify a mistake here or there.

The Phillies season will mostly play out on the bats and arms of those on the roster before Domonic Brown’s July 28th debut, so let’s avoid the Ted Williams comparisons (he requested Domonic Brown’s number, you know?) and be thankful that we will not soon be regretting a trade deadline deal that led to the Domonic Brown epoch in some other city.

Sorry, just following the rules.

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