Painting the town red

By Nick Pitts
October 23, 2008

Megan Pellegrino

Glen Macnow, start taking notes. This might be the year you get to write a new great Philadelphia sports book, one that ends a little differently than the rest.

Twenty-five years have gone by in this championship-starved city. Twenty-five agonizing years of so close, of just one game away, of just one field goal, fourth and inches, one pitch, one point and ultimately, of maybe next year.

Do you know what 25 years amounts to?

One hundred seasons have come and gone in Philadelphia. The Flyers, Phillies, 76ers and Eagles have played a combined 100 seasons since the last championship, which was in 1983.

All 100 of those seasons have ended in failure and we all have our own memories of our teams going down swinging.

The Phillies of 2008 are poised to finally break that drought.

But with that said, I’m not even entirely sure whether or not those players have been around this city long enough to understand just what a World Series win will mean.

Not only will Philadelphians be pleased, but just think about those people of South Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, most of Delaware and all of the transplants out in California, including my mom’s sister and every other fan hiding in other cities.

Phillies nation stretches much further than people realize.

I have never had a reason to be celebrating in October. I was just five years old when Mitch Williams threw the pitch that defined his career: A down and inside fastball to Joe Carter that sent the Phillies home empty handed in their last World Series appearance.

That was 1993; Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard were barely teenagers back then and Chase Utley was only 15. Jamie Moyer was the only Phillie even in the league in ’93 and he was still a Baltimore Oriole.

Oh, if they only knew what they were getting themselves into the day they all signed contracts with Philly.

They are finally getting previewed to the not-so-bright, yet irresistible history of sports in this town, walking the tight-rope of excellence that so many other teams before them have fallen off of, so close to the end.

So many times I have seen one of our teams fall so close to the championship, but never have I had such good feelings about a team that is this close.

This may finally be the team that, quite simply, wins. And it is about time.

I love hearing the old stories of Bobby Clarke and Bernie Parent’s Flyers of the ’70s that shook fear into the hears of opponents, of Dr. J’s Sixers who didn’t know how to lose and of Mike Schmidt’s Phillies of the ’80s, the greatest Phillies ever.

Yes, those stories are all wonderful to hear, but is it not time to renew those stories? Is it not time to let all of those legends of sport to finally have their chance to walk into the sunset? There comes a point in time in a Philly fan’s life when the thought crosses their mind: will I live long enough be able to march down Broad Street with a Philly team?

What will mean more to me at this point, is to get to share a World Series win with the people who made me into the Philadelphia sports fan that I am today.

Finally seeing a team triumph in this city, getting the chance to celebrate along with both of my grandfathers and my dad, that really is what it’s all about.

As the World Series begins and we turn our small suburban towns into shrines for our team, decorating our homes, cars and pets and it would mean that much more, instead of tearing them down in disgust after a loss, to be able to keep them up for months thereafter, following a world series win.

Nick Pitts

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