The Young Philadelphian
I’ve got to have a team for the World Series, and since I haven’t been able to root for the Baltimore Orioles in the fall classic since 1983, I’m hoping the guys with blue stars on their shirts can throttle the guys with the pinstripes on theirs — the New York Yankees.
While I disdain the Yankees and all they stand for, I’m really looking forward to the Series. For two reasons.
Up first — much as I hate to admit it, the Yankees are the top team in the American League this season. I don’t mind admitting Derek Jeter is a class act — he would have made a fine Baltimore Oriole and is a regular guy. I can’t endorse other guys on the team, like the overpaid Alex Rodriguez, the sophomoric and sulky A.J. Burnett and the screaming eagle himself, “Joba” Chamberlain. If pressed ... I kind of like Nick Swisher, too.
The Phillies proved themselves the class of the National League, and it looks like the Phils really match up against the Bandido Yanquis. Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Chase Utley can go deep and go often. It really should be a terrific Series!
The second reason I’ll be watching the games — it’s just fun to root against the Yankees. Last year, when the Phillies beat the overmatched Tampa Bay Rays, it just wasn’t a great Series. I backed the American League, which I do in just about every non-Yankee Series year, but I wasn’t passionate about it. This October — and November — if your favorite team isn’t in the hunt, you can at least root against the team you never want to see win the gold rings.
For a lot of people, that’s NYY. For me, I hate to see them re-load every year, and bolster positions in the field and at bat by just opening up George Steinbrenner’s checkbook. Teams in smaller markets see their players develop into stars, can’t pay the exorbitant salaries tossed around in free agency, and often lose favorites to New York. Should I cheer for Matt Wieters, the Orioles’ promising young catcher? Or not get too excited ... when Jorge Posada retires, Matt will probably just sign with New York.
I can only think of two instances where I’d root for New York. One would have been the Yankees playing the now-defunct Montreal Expos in the Series. I won’t root for my state team now, but I would have rooted for my country’s team in an international Series. The second scenario would be if a team from Mars came to Earth and played the Yankees, winner take planet. I’d have to root for New York then, but part of me would want a close game. As an aside, there’s probably a better chance of Mars bringing a team to Earth than Major League Baseball bringing another team to Montreal.
So that’s it — cheer against the bad guys. That’s why I hope the Phils’ pitching staff carves up the Yankee line-up like Michael Myers carves up a bunch of stupid teenagers in those “Halloween” movies. It will be relaxing for me to see “Joba” flattened like a pancake (figuratively speaking) by those big Philly bats. Maybe literally speaking too, now that I think about it.
I’ll really cheer for the Phils, a team I’ve never been crazy about. True, they did have the great Dick Allen during the 1960s, but they also had the showboating Pete Rose for a while, too. Always remembered Philly Pete during the early 1980s, playing first base. When an inning ended with a ground out to his position, Pete recorded the out and slammed the ball into the ground. I always thought that was kind of bush league.
All is forgiven this month. If Philadelphia wins the World Series, I may even take Ken Schott — our office’s most rabid Philly fan — to lunch. We can talk about the Philadelphia Eagles, and maybe Baltimore’s 1983 World Series win ... over those guys with blue stars on their shirts.