Spring is in the air and while you are probably battling allergies and thinking about flowers blooming, birds chirping, and the upcoming summer, all I’ve got on my mind is hot dogs, pinstripes and the Phillie Phanatic.
Yes. That’s right, I’ve got an (un)-healthy dose of baseball on the brain. Ever since spring training started in February, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this season. I’ve staked out the new talent, bought new merchandise and I’m ready to watch this season unfold.
I could spend every day in a baseball stadium. Maybe it’s because I worshipped The Sandlot growing up, or maybe it’s because being a Phillies’s fan has been ingrained in me since birth; I couldn’t tell you. All I know is that I live for Phillies games. I literally live and breathe for a good game of baseball and when I enter that stadium, I get a rush of adrenaline.
There’s something about entering Citizens Bank Park that blows my mind every time. It smells of sweat, greasy over-priced food and victory. People of all ages are swarming around and you’re just lost amidst a sea of red and white and baseball hats. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. Yeah, sure, sometimes there’s pushing and shoving and people are buzzing all around you, but once you enter that ballpark, you become a part of something much bigger than yourself. You and the rest of those hundreds of thousands of people are all there for the same reason. For once, no one cares about where you come from, what you do, what your life is like in the outside world. Under those stadium lights, everyone is equal (unless you’re not a Phillies fan, then you’re just the enemy, scum and pathetic losers). Sitting in those seats and staring at your fellow Phanatics, a bond forms, and no one cares about anything except winning.
In my opinion, the best part of baseball is the fans. Baseball gets a lot of hate from the outside community, arguing that it’s the “lazy man’s sport”, that it’s “boring and lackluster” and that it’s pointless. Sure, baseball may not be the most physically grueling sport on the planet (hockey, anyone?) and yes, sometimes the games tend to drag on. There are always going to be those games where nothing happens, or the games where the 3rd inning is exciting as hell but the rest of the game sucks, not to mention those instances where it goes as many as 20 innings because it’s tied at 1-1.
However, us baseball fans don’t care about these boring moments. These facts are irrelevant to us. We don’t live and breathe for the boring. We exist for the moments of painful agony, the unexplainable seconds when it’s full count and the bases are loaded and the game is tied. We live for those moments of waiting on bated breath, for something to happen. Is he going to strike out? Get walked? Hit a grand slam? We live for the unknown, for October, and for World Series rings on our fingers.
It’s the fans that hold the franchise together, and without us, what would be the point? The team would walk onto the field every night to empty seats. There’d be no one there to cheer them on when they’re winning and no one there to make them push harder when they suck. The players can practice all they want, score as many runs as they dream, hell, they can even win without the fans there, but besides themselves, who would they be playing for?
All we do is sit in the stands and yell our little hearts out, but in our own way, we make a difference. No matter what happens during the season, the team still needs us. Our cheers of enthusiasm (and yes, even our threats) matter somehow and someway. We may not be out there on the field, but we’re still a part of the team.
So my fellow “phans”, let’s discuss this upcoming season together. Who do you think looks promising out there on the field? What are your season predictions? Let’s talk out our frustrations, our predictions and what it’s like to “paint the town red”.