For the fan in enemy territory

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scratching Out a Tune and a Series

Living a stone's throw away from Philadelphia has been torture for the past several years. When their teams do well, their fans are unbearable. What's more, when my teams do bad, those same fans are insufferable. But I am reminded of a great musical that if it were to take place in this day and age and in my area, it would open up like this....

"A fiddler on the roof. It sounds crazy, no? But in my small corner of southern New Jersey, each New York fan is like a fiddler on the roof. Trying to scratch out a simple tune without breaking his neck."

The tune can be beautiful, it can be dreadful. The tune can be welcoming to an outsider. The tune can draw a person in. It did to me, once. As I try to balance the rooftops of my fandom without falling, I always have trouble maintaining my equilibrium. After all, the local team is so successful, it causes the peasants to riot and try to crumble my house to the ground with me on top.

Once in a while, the impossible happens. The "home"team struggles or has the occasional trouble with an underdog. I have never been one to root for the "home" team. There is an old saying, "home is where you hang your hat". In sports, it's more like, "home is who you have on your hat".

My "home" team is most likely practicing their golf skills right about now. But their main opposition for the past several years, the Phillies, have their hands full. The local team is having a hard time with the San Francisco Giants. The pitching that was supposed to carry the Phillies to another world championship has held up for the most part, but the rest of the team has failed.

For what it's worth, I am taking account of the things I am thankful for in this series. One, the Phillies fans have seemed much quiter as their confidence is being slowly sapped away by a team that resembles the scrappy fire they once had. Two, the Giants are exposing the weaknesses of the Phillies. That could come in handy if the Phillies do make a comeback in the series and somehow advance on to the World Series.

Finally, with the hungriest team in the playoffs, the Texas Rangers, handling the Bombers of the Bronx, one thing is for certain: there will most likely be a new World Series winner. The two participants in the series will most likely NOT be the past two winners (AKA the Mets biggest rivals).

If this happens, after a season that looked like a meeting of destiny between those two ball clubs, I will be running around my house like that tailor in the musical singing about miracles. Though it still would come up short compared to the miracle of '86. "Knight comes around and the Mets win it!", can't you just hear me singing.