As Craig Ferguson would say, "It's a great day for America, everybody!"
Why? Because I got my Phillies season tickets in the mail today. For those of you from out of town, the big story here is that the Phillies have assembled four of the best starting pitchers in baseball - Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels - and are expected to breeze through the National League on their way to a fifth straight division title and third World Series appearance in four years. On paper.
The reality remains to be seen, and as hyped-up as sports fans are in Philadelphia, the proof (as they say) is in the pudding, and the pudding is still cooking in Florida. After all, who would have said that the Giants would have won the championship last year? That's why they play the games.
I'm not the type to get worked up over anything, personal or not, and I try to maintain an even strain, waiting for the results to come in before I get excited over anything. It's a lifetime of conditioning, both as a Philadelphian and as a human who has expected greatness only to be disappointed in the result.
My childhood baseball passion started in 1964. As some of you know, it was a season of an historic collapse where the Phillies coughed up a 6.5 game lead with 12 games remaining by losing 10 in a row and yielded the National League pennant to the St. Louis Cardinals. That was when you had to win a pennant to get to the World Series. If that happened today, they would have probably made the playoffs as a wild card and still had a shot at the title.
I remember my dad telling me, "I'm going to get us World Series tickets." As a 7-year old, I was thrilled. I hardly knew what the World Series was, but I knew it was pretty cool. Dad would have gotten them too. There was no StubHub or crazy Internet ticket scams in those days.
On Sunday's we used to stop into the local sporting goods store on the way to the ballpark and pick up 2 tickets to the game and go to Connie Mack Stadium to watch Jim Bunning and Sandy Koufax pitch against each other. This Phillies team has sold out a season's worth of tickets, and my dad would probably be griping about not being able to go to the ballpark to see his beloved Phillies.
But his son would have already bought a season ticket package and would have been thrilled to be able to take his dad and promise him that he could go to a World Series game.
Sadly, my dad died in 1967 and never saw his Phillies win anything. It's the Golden Age of baseball here now, and we're trying to enjoy it. Those of us who are old enough to remember the agony however, know that nothing is guaranteed.