Phillies '09 Season Opener: Let's Do It Again


You always remember your first time. Sure, the Phillies had one prior championship under their franchise's belt, but for most fans of my generation the magical 2008 season was the first time we ever experienced the sweet taste of calling Philadelphia a World Champion. And boy was it ever sweet.

As it so often unfolds for a championship team in any sport, the bounces seemed to go the Phillies way in 2008. Am I saying the Phillies lucked their way into winning the 2008 World Series? Absolutely not. That team was put together to win a championship for years dating back to the infamous Ed Wade days. Piece by piece, Pat and Jimmy and Chase and Ryan and Cholly and Gillick and Lidge and Stairs and all the guys, the indivuduals added up to form the best team in all of baseball last season. They were set up to win and they did.

Prior to last October I was jaded. My motto and belief as a sports fan was always "expect the worst and hope for the best." The magical 2008 season taught me that we're not cursed and Philadelphia is capable of reaching the pinnacle and throwing the best damn party this city has ever seen afterwords.

2008 changed us.

I'm no longer expecting the worst and hoping for the best. After seeing Shane hit that grand slam, Brett work that walk, Carlos dribble that single, Cole transform into an MVP, and Pat hit that shot off the wall, I'm expecting excellence from these Phillies.

And that brings us to 2009. It's a whole new season. Everybody has a clean slate. The NL East is packed with quality teams. But only one is coming into this campaign as the reigning WFC. Only one has the cool, calm, and mumbling presence of Charlie Manuel on the bench. I believe that all means something.

For the most part, minus the departure of Pat Burrell and the addition of Raul Ibanez, the core is intact. Will they get the same bounces in 2009? On paper, the Phillies are still the best team in the NL in my opinion and if they avoid any serious injuries, they can and should put themselves in position to repeat.

Obviously, there are no certainties. Take Brad Lidge for example, the man was perfect -- perfect -- last season. Nobody is perfect forever. But I'm not worried about Lidge or any other player on this team. They've all shown that they can play at Championship levels. The only thing this team really has to worry about is the same thing every other team has to worry about: keeping their best players on the field for an entire season.

2008 was the best season in any sport many of us have ever seen. It was amazing. It was glorious. It was what makes being a Philadelphia sports fan worth it.

This 2009 team is once again set up to win. Whether they will or not? Well, shit. That's why they play the games.

I'll be walking into the ball park this evening for the first time since Cholly rode around the outfield in his Monopoly suit and Pat walked his dog up to the stage and Chase Utley said those three beautiful words.

World. Fucking. Champions.

It's 2009 and it's time to do it all over again.

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