Thursday, October 16, 2008

A 15-year wait is over

While you’re driving to work this morning, take a glance at the driver next to you.

I’m guessing they’re smiling.

That’s what winners do.

It’s been a long 15 years. That’s how long it’s been since we’ve been able to utter these words in the same sentence: Philadelphia Phillies, National League Champions.

Yes, we’re going to the World Series.

We just don’t know who they’re playing yet. Does it really matter? Tampa has a 3-1 lead over the Red Sox and can seal the deal tonight.

But don’t get too excited. Regardless of when the ALCS is decided, we’re going to be facing a bit of lag time. That’s because the World Series will not start until next Wednesday regardless of who the Phils’ oppponent is.

All the better to savor a National League pennant. Hell, we don’t even have an Eagles game on Sunday to bide us over. Guess we’ll just have to survive a week without second-guessing Andy Reid.

Speaking of second-guessing, Charlie Manuel must have a sense of fulfillment this morning. Of course, any joy Manuel has in leading the Phils to the pennant is tempered by the fact that he now will head home to bury his mother, who died earlier this week.

Manuel, a genuinely decent, good man, has been second-guessed more than just about anybody outside of George W. Bush. He was at times ridiculed for his down-home, country manner of expressing himself.

All Manuel did in the last five games was out-manage Joe Torre.

Torre is headed for the golf course. Manuel, and this special team, is going somewhere else.

They’re going to the World Series.

Enjoy the ride!

*

OK, I admit it. I spent most of my time watching the Phillies last night.

Yes, I know there was a fairly important debate going on. I flipped furiously between innings, but the sports fan in me just wouldn't allow me to stick with the debate other than between innings.

From what I saw, it sounded like more of the same.

The same claims, the same sound bites, the same vitriol over personal attacks on both sides.

Here's the really sad part. I did catch the end of the debate. Then I flipped furiously back over the Phils game.

Then I went to bed with the Phils up 5-1. I saw most of the Phils runs, including that dynamite Jimmy Rollins leadoff homer.

I managed to see Cole Hamels for the most part blowing through the Dodgers' lineup.

I was over on the debate when Manny Ramirirez took Hamels out for the Dodgers' only run.

I of course was gone a few minutes after I hit the bed. Yes, I was fast asleep when the Phils became National League champions.

But I didn't have to wait until this morning to find out.

My wife woke me with the news.

It felt pretty damn good.

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