The Philadelphia Phillies: A postseason love letter

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Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Bryce Harper celebrates with the trophy after winning the baseball NL Championship Series in Game 5 against the San Diego Padres on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Dear Rob Thomson and the Philadelphia Phillies,

It’s rare in the career of someone in sports media that you get to cover a team that you grew up watching on television. Usually, fandoms are kept for the days we’re home on our couches. Remember, there’s no cheering in the press box.

However, you made that all but impossible. Granted, there were some large question marks before the season even started. Was Alec Bohm going to be the guy the Phillies needed after an abysmal 2021 season? The third baseman did not endear himself to us back in April when he was caught saying how much he hated Philadelphia. They called to drag him out of Citizens Bank Park. But in the City of Brotherly Love, you can easily be forgiven when you turn the season around.

In his third year as the skipper of the team, Joe Girardi was testing the patience of both players and fans.

If there’s one rule I can share with the world, you never want to make Phillies fans mad. End of sentence. Yet, we endured. We made it to 10-18 and yet, murkiness still remained. We had more questions and Girardi seemed to run out of answers. So Philadelphia sent him on their way but not before social media praised the decision. Enter Rob Thomson, who we would come to love as “Philly Rob.”

Phillies kept persisting

But there seemed to be something revitalized about this Philadelphia team. Bats were coming alive and the pitching stuff had some names like Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and later Noah Syndergaard. Yet oh boy did we collectively groan as a fandom when we got hit by the injury bug. Bryce Harper was sidelined for a significant time with a broken thumb. Wheeler down the stretch was out with a shoulder problem. Who can forget when reliever Corey Knebel went down and out for the season?

We watched the tough divisional losses and high points during the season. Post All-Star break, there was a bit of new vitality to this team. Seranthony Dominguez emerged as someone who fans could count on to get out of a tough inning. Philly Rob became the “manager we trust” and took us 65-46 and to our first postseason in 11 years.

As fans, the postseason was a magical (if not stressful) ride. We were the sixth seed and faced tough opponents in the San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, and St. Louis Cardinals. Oh man, that Wild Card run- who could forget it!

It looked hopeless until a late spurt gave us the first of two series wins and sent St. Louis packing. Atlanta went down in the NLDS in four games and man, sending playing the NLCS at home was bittersweet. San Diego gave us some pause but they were dispatched at Citizens Bank Park and the city. went. insane.

Climbing up the poles, the stadium erupting into madness and our Phillies were headed to the World Series.

Phillies fall in the World Series

When the home runs weren’t flying out of the ballpark (thanks, Kyle Schwarber), sadly the bats weren’t producing enough. Against a pitching staff like the Houston Astros, you can’t just rely on sacrifice flies and bunts. The three games at CBP were packed and while didn’t have the outcome we wanted, it was a bonding moment for the city.

Philadelphia got THIS.CLOSE. and that is not the end of the line for the team. This season will be remembered fondly. No one expected the Phillies to make it to the World Series, let alone the postseason. It was exciting, thrilling, and exasperating.

It’s a tough place to play and any player who’s put on the pinstripes knows this to be true. Yet it’s a team that is just getting started.

There wasn’t parade down past City Hall and no, we didn’t hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy. But we united a team and a city and that’s the thing about the City of Brotherly Love. The city all came together once again.

It’s not going to be goodbye, just see you next season.

Sincerely,

Philadelphia Phillies fans

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum

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