You feel that?
Something is different. Very different.
There's a line in the movie Groundhog Day, when Bill Murray wakes up and realizes that Andie McDowell is lying next to him and the cycle has broken.
"Different is good."
Repeat after me: First back-to-back division titles since 1980-81.
Soak it in. Let it breathe a little.
We all know what happened the last time this happened. We dare not say it—much the same as Harry Potter's nemesis, "He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named."
Or dare we?
This season isn't about the Phillies exorcising ghosts—the Cubs have that duty. 100 years of futility trumps Philadelphia's woes. Although one championship in 124 years is pretty close.
This season is different.
The Phillies got a taste of the postseason last year and, unlike teams in recent memory, made it back. They got timely hitting, clutch pitching, and defensive gems like Rollins' diving double play that the Philly media is already putting down among the greatest plays in the team's history.
The 1993 Phillies started the season 8-1. At the time, I was a freshman at the University of Scranton and had a number of fellow JOPs on my floor. At Scranton, you were either a JOP (just-outside-Philadelphia), a JONY (just-outside-New-York), or a townie.
I distinctly remember discussing in the hallway that magical spring that something "was different."
We had a good feeling.
That feeling has returned.
Of course, that 1993 high came crashing down with one swing of Joe Carter's bat. But those Phillies—those lovable losers—were a flash in the pan, with many having career years at the same time.
The 2008 Phillies have been slowly building to this point. The worry is still there—we are, after all, Philly fans. And there may not be a streakier team than the Phillies—up OR down.
We saw first hand last season how much damage a hot team going into the playoffs can do (see: Rockies, Colorado).
The 2008 Phillies are the hot team entering the playoffs.
The black cloud that has seemed to surround our fair city for generations has conveniently taken up root 90 miles north (see: Mets, New York).
Something is definitely different.
And in these parts, different is definitely good.