It seemed like we’d always be good. Five divisions in a row. The best record in baseball two straight years. Three NLCS appearances. Two NL Pennants. Two NL MVP’s. A Cy Young. A World Series MVP. And yes, a World Series championship. The Phillies were invincible.
Until October 7th, 2011. That night Roy Halladay got out dueled 1-0. The game ended with Ryan Howard on the ground with a torn achilles. The Cardinals won the series. Then they won the World Series. A much younger Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina got their rings. Halladay was never the same again. Howard was never the same again. Chase Utley was hurt a lot after that. Cliff Lee too. The Nationals got good. The Mets got good. The Braves got good too, really good. The Phillies went 11 years before they saw the playoffs after that.
Being a Phillies fan in 2011 was cool. The stadium was packed every night. The stadium ended up being sold out for years. The team spent big money bringing great players to the city. We were winners. Then we weren’t. In a few short years we weren’t even good anymore. The stadium emptied. All the heroes left. Halladay even died. The f***ing insect Mets fans even started to infest our stadium to watch their perennial failing team again, with their stupid little chants.
I’ve had a Phillies 17 game season ticket package with my father since 1991, but it was never cooler than 2007-2011. I was 24 when they won the first division and 28 when they won the last one. The World Championship, the heated rivalry with the Mets, Howard’s majestic homers, the best middle infield in baseball, the four aces- it was awesome. Then it was over, and we’re a real adult, and sports kind of suck until Nick Foles performs the ultimate Jesus act and beats Tom Brady to win a Super Bowl for Philly. Honestly that stupid f***ing NLDS loss to the Cardinals ends up being a demarcation point between my fun young adult years and descending into adulthood. It didn’t bother me as much at the time as it grew to over the years. Really. That game bothers me more than some things that happened to me personally.
So yes, when the Phillies had a chance to play the f***ing Cardinals, I got excited. Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, and Adam Wainwright are all legends, much respect to them. But seriously, the Phillies had a chance to end their careers, in their home park? Holy shit. This was too good to be true. To sweep them? Amazing. To watch their fans empty out before game one was over, in the ballpark the national media swears is “baseball heaven?” Yes, this feels better than good. Let me keep feeling this. It’s not personal because they’re bad people or something- but they were the ones celebrating on our field as our best player laid on the field injured, our era over. So I’m not saying it’s special, but let ‘em know the Phillies did it. The Phillies ended their legends. Hell yeah.