SCENES FROM TWO Octobers . . .
To get to Game 5 and all its
glory, there were many, many games that were less celebratory.
In 1993, it was Joe Carter and Mitch Williams. It was SkyDome in downtown Toronto, one of North America's great cities.
It was a devastating loss by the Phillies. Everybody loved that '93 team and most everybody around here expected the Phillies to win the World
Series that year.
They did not. And the remains were tossed about in a cramped locker room that October. Mitch Williams was sitting on a stool in a corner. I
remember looking at the stark white walls of the locker room and looking at Mitch. He looked stark white, too.
Mitch sat there and answered every question about how he gave up a series-winning home run to Carter. It wasn't pretty watching a man, his soul bared, telling a truth no one in Philly wanted to hear.
To get to Game 5 and all its glory, this year's Phillies team had to survive an up-and-down regular season. Deep into September, no one knew if this team was even going to make the playoffs.
Through their inconsistency, you knew there was a team there, with a strong heartbeat and grit. You knew, if things came together just right, this team had the makeup to do something special.
You also knew how rare it is when everything necessary comes together, blended with a dash of good fortune and maybe a pinch of flat-out good luck.
We knew this because we are Philadelphians and we have spent 25 years always looking ahead to next year, where promise is a grand premise, but a
parade is something else.
Once these Phillies were in the playoffs, it seemed apparent they were a legitimate contender. Their starting pitching was coming around, close to matching an already lights-out bullpen.
Their lineup was potent,
despite holes and slumps that are just part of baseball. They had been through the playoffs the year before and you knew they learned from that. You sensed this year would be the
And once the playoffs were rolling, the Phillies were the team doing the rolling. Yes, pinch us, they were the best team in each series and how often in 25 years did you think that about the Philadelphia team?
And something else. They were winning at home - every game in the postseason. They were fueled by adoring and
supportive fans, who clearly sensed something special
was happening with this team. No booing was necessary.
No one really knows how much fans matter to the outcome of a game. In this postseason, it was easy to tell. The fans were consistently great and the players gratefully ate it up.
Almost immediately, this group of Phillies became Philly heroes forever, which is what we do to our championship players. Orest Kindrachuk, say hello to Shane Victorino.
As the Phillies celebrated
on the field, there was Mitch
Williams doing interviews for Comcast SportsNet. There was joy in his voice and a smile on his face and he shared the moment with the players, a moment he was denied as a player.
And in Philadelphia, a sports city unique and special in ways that fans in other cities could never understand, there was a sense of closure along with the joy. *
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