I was fortunate enough in 1993 to attend a World Series game. It was one of the most exciting and disappointing games I have ever seen.
A rag-tag group of "nobodies" took the field on Oct. 20 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia against the reigning world champion Toronto Blue Jays.
As my father and I arrived at the stadium I remember him telling me that this was a must win game for the Phillies.
The Blue Jays had home field advantage in the series but the Phillies were able to take one game up in Toronto. Unfortunately the Phillies had lost at home the night before and the series was now 2-1 in favor of the Jays.
As we got to our seats the old Vet was electric, but the power was about to go out. The Jays jumped on us early, scoring three runs in the top of the first. The Fightin' Phills answered back in the bottom of the inning with four runs.
This was going to be a special night.
By the end of the fourth inning the game would be tied at sevens. The next inning the Phillies' bats woke up and drove in five runs to put them up 12-7.
The song "Whoop There It Is" had to have been played at least a half dozen times in the bottom of the fifth alone.
Going into the eight inning the Philles were still comfortably ahead 14-9. After giving up one run already in the inning the ball was handed to Mitch Williams.
Even typing his name hurts.
As you know the Phillies would go on to lose the game 14-15, and eventually the Series in six games with the aforementioned "pitcher" on the mound.
All that said, this Phillies team in 2008 is different. We have expectations for this team. They are not a bunch of "nobodies." This is a complete championship team with superstars and future hall of famers.
We need to forget about failed attempts in the past year and in 1993. We need to stop thinking about the Eagles of the 2000s and all those years in a row making it to the NFC championship games and finally the Super Bowl only to lose.
I need to be able to watch Comcast Sports Net and not want to throw a brick through the TV every time I see Mitch's face.
We need to look back to a team we believed in and a time when Philadelphia sports ruled the world...1980. And we need to believe again.
As Tug McGraw said, "You gotta believe!"
One image that will forever be engrained in my mind is McGraw in game six of the World Series leaping off the mound. Old No. 45—The Pope.
And now we look to a mirror image to leap off the mound in the final game of 2008. One a lefty, the other a righty. One with the No. 45 on his back, the other with No. 54. Both Phillies born in California.
As I sit here and believe the Phillies will stay hot in the postseason, I look to the next generation—I look to my son, born last November—and wonder if he will idolize Brad Lidge the same way I idolized Tug McGraw. But I pray he doesn't have to wait another 28 years to see the Phillies win a world series.
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