Make sure you pick up Sunday's Inquirer to read the beginning of our nine-part series to preview the 2010 Phillies season. It's called, "The Secret of Their Success" and over the next nine days, you can read in-depth features and analysis on how the Phillies made it to this point -- arguably the most successful period in the franchise's long history.
We leadoff today with a feature on Citizens Bank Park by Frank Fitzpatrick, who writes: Philadelphia's baseball paradigm began to shift on April 12, 2004, when, after a dreary final decade at Veterans Stadium, where their fortunes were crumbling like the concrete, the Phillies moved to the new ballpark next door.
Who was the man who reignited the passion of the fans in Philly according to Ed Wade? None other than Jim Thome, as Bob Brookover writes. There are fantasitc details of Thome's recruiting visit to Philadelphia, which led him to take one of the first lucrative contracts the team offered.
Columnist Phil Sheridan writes about you, the fans, who he says are a primary reason behind the Phillies' recent success. He writes: And there they were, the real reason the Phillies now belong in any conversation about perennial World Series contenders: the fans.
You. Well, you and three million of your closest red-clad friends. There is a symbiotic relationship at work here. As the team moved into Citizens Bank Park and became more successful on the field, fans overflowed the Phillies' coffers - giving the organization the chance to operate like a true big-market baseball team.
And finally, retired Inquirer columnist Bill Lyon writes about the potential of winning the National League for a third consecutive time: The very same franchise that only recently accumulated its 10,000th defeat now looks down the barrel of history.
Three NL pennants in a row? Who would have thought that possible, say, only as recently as three years ago? Three in a row? There was a time when we viewed one in a row as a gift. And that only once every century or so.
Folks, the point is, these are our Glory Days. Enjoy them. Go ahead, savor them. Wallow in them. Make them your guilty pleasure. Don't let the ghosts of all those past failures intimidate you. The infamy and the anguish of the 1964 meltdown? Ha! Laugh in its face.
There will be much more in the coming days, so be sure to read.