After spending a few days with our collective feet on the recliner, we now know the defending World Series Champs will take on the most legendary franchise in the history of sports on Wednesday night (by the way, how nice was it to watch two other teams sweat it out for the right to play our team?) What's funny is that I want this match-up. In fact, I think a lot of Phillies fans do. If this team is as great as I think they are, then we shouldn't be afraid of the Yankees or any other team in the league. The Yankees don't scare me. I think we are ready for them and ready for greatness.
Often in the lure of Philadelphia sports history, we tend to fear the great teams. Perhaps this is best explained through my future sister-in-law's post to my last blog (basically the Eagles get tantalizingly close to winning a championship, only to have us all get sick with disappointment as another Eagles season comes to a crashing close.) But greatness is accompanied by a certain attitude and confidence. I feel like the Patriots have it, I feel like the Steelers have it, the Detroit Red Wings, the Florida Gators (why must they have it), USC football, UNC hoops, Tiger Woods, the Lakers, the Celtics, the Yankees, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Ric Flair (wooooo) - they all have it.
This confidence is not just being great, it is knowing just how great you are. It is understanding that your opponent needs to not only beat you physically, but beat you mentally in order to defeat you. It is starring down A-Rod with 2-men on, in a one run game and not thinking but knowing you are going to beat him. When I look at this Phillies roster these guys are playing with tremendous poise and confidence right now. They are playing like they expect to win, not like they hope to win. With greatness, comes hatred. Of that list of teams I named above, how many of those teams do you hate? Why? Because they do what your teams don't do (and sadly, ESPN is obsessed with their every move).
Obviously with the Yankees coming off a big series win over the Angels they have no shortage of confidence too. On paper these teams match-up well. I give a slight nod to the Phils line-up. I like that fact that we can DH Raul Ibanez, which enables us to get Ben Francisco's speed and glove out in the field. Using Francisco in the field gives us three tremendous fielding outfielders. I think the Yanks starting pitching is a little better, but remember we did get to CC Sabathia last year when he pitched for the Brewers during the NLDS. I like our defense better. However, Mariano Rivera is unrivaled as a closer. Period.
This sets up to be a phenomenal series and I think it will live up to the hype. Baseball's winningest team of all-time, versus the franchise with 10,000 loses. The intensity will be off the charts during this I-95 Series. Will Ryan Howard and A-Rod continue their torrid postseasons? Will Derek Jeter add to his legendary Mr. October status or will the new, upstart Senor Octubre (Carlos Ruiz) build on his rapidly-growing post-season reputation? This should be a great series for baseball, and one I think the Phillies can win. This series will require everything the Phils have shown thus far and nothing less. They must stay sharp mentally. The Yankees take a lot of pitches and stretch out games. They wear teams out, so the Phils MUST stay focused.
Can they do it? Can the Fighting Phils actually pull a back-to-back title off? (Philly's first since the early 1970s Flyer teams). Are you kidding me? Are we really this close to doing the unthinkable? I can hardly wait until Wednesday!
And in this World Series hour, we will find out if the Phils have IT.
Dun-dun-dun-dun (insert the Monday Night Football theme here). Has there ever been an Eagles game more under the radar than tonight's showdown against the Skins? Eagles-Skins came always seem to bring out the unexpected in both teams. I think Andy actually runs Westbrook a bit more (probably around 18 carries) and the defense makes some plays on Jason Campbell. Historically, Campbell has played pretty well against us and Clinton Portis tore us apart last year, but the Birds were embarrassed by an AWFUL Raiders team (you hear that Rock?) and they should be out to prove something tonight. I see our offense actually getting a bit more creative this week, with the extra day of preparation. The Skins are in total disarray right now and if we can't beat them tonight that will be a big disappointment, especially with the tougher part of our schedule coming up. I'll be much happier going into the next 10 games sitting at 4-2, instead of 3-3.
Anyone else notice that the Sixers start their regular season on Wednesday night? Yeah, me neither. We'll save this topic for the dead of winter.
Things You Should Know:
- Ever notice that whenever you get something new you think it is the (INSERT superlative here) in the world. I think its great. I'm pretty sure Summer believes comet is not only the fastest, smartest, cutest dog on the planet but I think she believes the dog knows who shot JFK.
- Am I the only person who gets in a really good mood once I hit certain grocery stores?
- Isn't it a bit misleading to say "my favorite part of going to the movies is the previews."
- At what age do people stop paying attention to you? I visited my beautiful newborn cousin Riley this weekend and everyone in that room hung on her every move. It was really cute but at what point do people say, "okay, i'm going back to my life now."
- Don't you love yelling at someone for doing something stupid while driving --like blocking an intersection where you are trying to turn --and then they refuse to look over at you, as if yelling at that person while they look at you would give you unmatchable satisfaction.
- And finally, Mark Sanchez might be my new favorite non-Eagle...check out this video... The guy is a starting QB for an NFL team and he's eating a hot dog on the bench. That is amazing: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/26/mark-sanchez-hot-dog-vide_n_334262.html