I love you guys, but lately you’ve been bringing me down.
We have been together for many years now, and most of my memories are very fond. We have a long, rich history of ups and downs, champagne soaked victories and bitter, disappointing losses. Before I knew what it even meant to be a sports fan, I started kindergarten wearing a Phillies jacket and child-size baseball cap. There’s still a soft spot in my heart for a guy with a moustache because of the heroics of Michael Jack Schmidt. Your old place was a classic institution, and now when I visit your current home, I know it’s one of the best stadiums in the country.
Being a fan of any Philadelphia sports team, you learn to roll with the punches, and being a Phillies fan is no different. I proudly swatted away naysayers as news outlets reported that we passed 10,000 losses, a record for most all-time for a professional sports franchise. And I almost grabbed the wheel of the car I was in as a passenger and veered off the road when I heard on the radio that Joe Carter had hit a World Series winning home run against us. Crow is a taste to which I have become very much accustomed.
I’ll be frank with you, Phillies, this year has been especially rough. We’re heading into the All Star break in last place in the NL East. When I write this post (on Wednesday), we were on a 6-game losing streak. You’re thinking about trading away some of my personal favorite parts of yourself, and sometimes it doesn’t even look like you’re trying very hard. I mean, as much as I love you, I dread checking scores these days, and I shudder whenever I hear that you’re sending in a reliever whose name isn’t Papelbon.
Listen, I know that you can’t control everything. Sometimes life throws you curve balls – literally. Your pitchers are suffering a crisis of confidence. You are connecting at the plate about as well as my iPhone in an elevator. The very heart of your team is broken, sidelined with injuries. In fact, I think things between us started getting tense when our playoff hopes and Ryan Howard’s Achilles tendon snapped on the same night.
Which is to say that I’m partially to blame, too. You see, the over past 5 or 6 years, you’ve spoiled me. You’ve won the NL East, sometimes in dramatic fashion, for the past 5 years straight. You assembled a legendary cadre of pitchers. I was there that night when you won the World Series in 2008, an experience I count as 72 of the most stressful hours of my life. I set 3 cars on fire that night. OK, that’s not true, but I did cry after that final out. During the World Series parade, it really did feel like we, as fans, were getting what we deserved, the payoff for years of loyalty.
Basically, you allowed me to get used to a certain standard of excellence that momentarily lifted me from the everyday realities of the Philadelphia sports fan. You’ve made me expect something I never had when I was growing up – winning. Now my expectations lie somewhere between out of control and over the top.
I write this letter to you to let you know that while I am disappointed this season, I am not going anywhere. I’m just giving you some time to figure things out. We’ve been through worse things than this. Ultimately, I know how lucky I am. I could be a Mets fan and feel this way every single year.
Your loyal fan forever,